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Satsuma Orange (Citrus unshiu) Crop Response to Microscale Summer and Winter Extreme Temperatures

Authors: Katie Pfeiffer, University of South Alabama, Elisa Alonzo-Negron , University of South Alabama, Steven Schultze*, University of South Alabama
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Climatology and Meteorology, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Agriculture, Precision Agriculture, Microclimates, GIS, Spatial Variability
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Satsuma oranges (Citrus unshiu) originated in Japan more than 700 years ago. Since then, they have become the primary citrus crop of the region. Like Japan, southern Alabama is a humid subtropical climate, meaning that it has both ideal temperatures and precipitation rates to grow satsumas. To do this, we installed 16 microloggers in eight satsuma trees, which recorded temperature and humidity rates every minute on the minute for the duration of our experiment in a grove of satsumas in Baldwin County, Alabama along the Gulf Coast for the summer of 2019 and the winter of 2019-2020. The temperature differences within, and among the trees, during the summer were found to be as high as nearly 17°C at exactly the same moment. These temperature differences manifested themselves in the individual trees' response to pest pressures, such as Citrus Rust Mites, which were non-uniform throughout the grove. In winter, frost and freeze events occurred unevenly, showing that damaging temperatures below 0°C do not set in to a grove in a spatially or temporally homogenous way. This has implications for frost mitigation strategies that farmers can use to prevent loss to their crop.

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