WUFT News

Why The Orange Is So Important to Florida – The Greening Series, Part 1

By on August 19th, 2014
The Orange Bird is a cartoon character mascot created in 1970 by Disney for the Florida Citrus Commission.   A likeness of the famous icon now hangs in the hallway of Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.

The Orange Bird is a cartoon character mascot created in 1970 by Disney for the Florida Citrus Commission. A likeness of the famous icon now hangs in the hallway of Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.

On a typical day at the port of Miami, thousands of goods and services come through the Customs Border Patrol for inspection before entering the country. In fact, it is the busiest port in the country, and it is here, in 2004, when citrus greening first came into Florida, said Doug Bournique, Indian River Citrus League President.

Huanglongbing, better known as Citrus Greening is a disease killing off Florida’s orange groves in unprecedented number. Brought into the United States by the asian citrus psyllid, the insect and its bacteria prevent nutrients from being absorbed by the tree, causing fruit to stay green and drop from the tree prior to maturity, never reaching the full size and sweetness typical for quality juice.

Citrus is big business for the state of Florida, and millions of dollars are being poured into research to study the problem, including a recent $1.5 million grant from Coca-Cola to the University of Florida.

University of Florida researchers estimate every grove across the state may be infected with the disease and many growers have lost their farms and their livelihoods.

UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center scientists now believe a cure is coming soon, but considerable damage has been done to the industry that has come to symbolize much more than a breakfast beverage.

In our first of a three-part series on citrus greening, WUFT’s Heather van Blokland takes us through a bit of history on Florida’s connection to the orange:


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Florida Forever Program Confirms 2015 Priority List

The Florida Forever Program, a land acquisition program, hopes to obtain 119 new properties, many of which located in North Central Florida. The lands are assessed based on several criteria to determine their environmental value.


Although the grove is currently closed to visitors, signs and maps still stand to display the historic site.

Historic Orange Grove’s Fate Undecided

The historic Carney Island orange grove has switched caretakers’ hands many times, but the Marion County Board of Commissioners now must face a decision on its future owners and use.


The redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, killed by a fungus founded by a team of UF researchers in order to stop the spread of laurel wilt, a disease that kills several tree species.

Solution Found For Disease Threatening Avocado Production

UF Researchers and researchers from the Tropical Research and Education Center, USDA and the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce have found an alternate way to control the spread of Laurel wilt, a disease that threatens Florida’s avocado industry.


This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments