Valley heat has citrus growers concerned

October 1, 2012 12:52:08 AM PDT
The Valley's fall heat wave has some Valley growers concerned about their crop.

The high heat is causing sunburn in fruit developing in some Orange Cove groves.

Valencia oranges are showing discoloration. Some of them even have brown spots

Kevin Severns is the general manager of the Orange Cove Sanger Citrus Association. He says the fall heat has also delayed the fruit's coloring process.

"We do expect to see some more sun burning on the outside of the fruit. Another issue is we need the cool nights and cool days to help promote the color coming into the fruit as it moves from the green to the more orange color," Severns said.

The entire fruit usually has started to change color by this time.

Severns says some growers are normally ready to harvest navel oranges by mid November. Unless we get a sudden cooldown that probably won't happen.

"A lot of times we're really concerned when we have this hot weather that the fruit's not going to grow but we've seen a lot of splitting out there," Severns said.

Oranges which have split are growing faster inside than the rind can contain. The yellow sunburn spots can also flatten out one side of the orange.

But Severns says the heat also helps the oranges mature. Sunburned fruit can be especially sweet though it won't reach the market because of cosmetic reasons.


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