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Citrus (mainly Satsuma) has been grown in southern Alabama for more than a century with most of the growers located in Baldwin and Mobile counties. Periodic winter freezes devastated the crop in the 1940s and there was scattered interest in Satsuma as a commercial crop until the use of micro-irrigation for freeze protection proved successful in other southern states almost half a century later.
In 1990 a research planting was reestablished at the Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center in Baldwin County where Satsuma had been studied in the 1930s. Two variety trials were planted, including one collection that contained approximately 30 varieties of satsumas, clementines, tangerines and other mandarins. A second trial was a replicated trial of satsumas collected from Hubei province in China.
Cold hardiness, early fruit hardiness and fruit quality of all selections in these trials are evaluated annually. GCREC also has a commercial citrus packing shed, cold storage, environmental growth chamber and greenhouse propagation facilities available for citrus research.
Last Updated: October 17, 2011