March is the most beautiful time of year in the Bella Viva Orchards. Almonds, cherries, apricots, plums and many other fruit trees are in full bloom. But, right now the new orange crop is in and it is as sweet as ever! Throughout the grove branches are weighed down by these juicy glowing gems. Recently, the air around the dehydrators has been thick with the fragrance of ripe oranges. Our proprietary drying method preserves that fresh flavor and aroma perfectly so you can enjoy these dried oranges year round. Come on down to the store or order online and enjoy the good life!
Citrus Greening Disease – HLB
The citrus industry is bracing itself against Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, as it destroys much of the world’s orange groves. In California alone 53,087 square miles have been quarantined since the first case in 2008. This bacterial plant disease is not harmful to humans or animals, but it kills a tree within a few years. The fruit is also left inedible, bitter, misshapen and hard. The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a pest that feeds on the stems and leaves of citrus trees, is responsible for the proliferation of disease. It has infected at least 70% of Florida’s citrus trees, leading to the worst crop in 30 years (BI). As a result the price of orange juice in the U.S. has increased by 20%. In Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of orange juice, entire groves are being uprooted and relocated as the disease sweeps across the country (WSJ).
Grafting for Fruit Production
March is also the perfect time of year for grafting in California. When we do graft at Bella Viva we find the best workers, one such person is Juan. His success rate can be from 90-95%, while a beginner might be lucky to have a 10% success rate. A multitude of variables make grafting so difficult, these include not only the quality of the scion, the host limb and the graft itself, but also the weather. The purpose of undertaking this challenge for an orchard is to change one variety to another if a young tree is not producing fruit well. But you can also graft at home to grow multiple types of fruit on one tree. If you want to try at home, go for it! But we recommend you first watch our master grafter Juan and read a guide from (UC Davis).