) or Slash Pine (
) to reduce frost injury during the winter season. Thismethod of culture was employed by growers in the region prior to the advent of irrigationtechnology and is still used today on a limited scale on sites where water is limiting. Treespacing in interplanted orchards is typically closer than in irrigated orchards with in-rowspacing of 3-4.3 m and between-row spacing of 6 m, giving a tree density of 359 to 384trees/ha. Every third tree in each row of trees is a pine tree and alternating rows havepines in alternating positions. When co-planted at the same time, the pine trees offer littlefrost protection to the Satsumas during the first 4-6 years of growth and development,and then provide increased frost protection with each year of canopy growth of the over-story species.The third method of culture for Satsuma mandarins in Alabama is “high tunnelgreenhouse” production, with trees permanently planted in greenhouses that are coveredin the months of December to April with a single-layer of white-colored, 4-mil or 6-milpolyethylene plastic. The structures themselves vary in width, length, and height, andplanting arrangement varies from double-row houses with a spacing of 1.8 m in-row and3.6 m between rows to single-row houses with trees spaced 1.8-2.4 m apart.Supplemental heat is provided by typical greenhouse heaters, water stored in black-colored drums, or with microsprinklers. Trees grown at present in high tunnels are young(less than 6 years old), and pruning requirements, potential for overcrowding and yieldpotential are still unknown.
The original Satsuma mandarin variety that was introduced to the U.S. from Japanin the late 1800’s is ‘Owari’, a variety that reaches desirable eating quality in earlyNovember in south Alabama (Ebel et al., 2004). Owari is still the predominant variety of Satsumas in the region today, accounting for 80-90% of the orchard variety composition.‘Armstrong Early’ is a variety of unknown origin that ripens 30-40 days earlier thanOwari, and has thin peel and compact growth habit. Armstrong Early has been grown forover two decades on a limited scale due to inconsistent internal fruit quality. Threerecently-introduced varieties: ‘Brown’s Select’ (Bourgeois et al., 1995), a mid-seasonselection; ‘Early St. Ann’ (Bourgeois et al., 2002a), an early variety; and ‘L.A. Early’(Bourgeois et al., 2002b), an early variety have garnered interest among growers inAlabama and are being planted with Owari in new plantings, in order to extend theharvest period. Varieties from China and Japan, such as ‘Xie Shan’, ‘Miyagawa Wase’,and ‘Okitsu Wase’, have only recently been introduced to this region and are under studyin variety trials. It is unknown at present whether any of these early ripening varieties canconsistently bear fruit with acceptable internal quality in this region.Very few other citrus crops are grown Alabama. While ‘Washington’ naveloranges are produced for commercial trade in south Louisiana, no navels or sweetoranges are grown commercially in Alabama. A wide array of citrus may be found inhome landscapes in this region, but the only varieties planted in high enough numbers forcommercial potential include ‘Meyer’ lemon x sweet orange, ‘Meiwa’ sweet kumquat(
), and ‘Nagami’ sour kumquat (