How to Prevent Fruit Splitting In Citrus

Physical appearance is an important factor to ensure commercial yield for citrus fruits, especially since 84% of them are consumed fresh. Their attractiveness is linked to their skin or peel (firmness, smoothness, gloss and color). Physiological disorders such as splitting and creasing increase financial losses.

10-35% of citrus display splitting or creasing disorders, which severely affects fruit quality and yield. This leads to financial losses between 9K to 13K €/ha

Splitting indicates a separation of the albedo (the white material under the outer peel) from the outer surface of the fruit. This internal damage is visible externally as an uneven appearance of the rind surface, and it can’t be reversed.

Different environmental parameters can cause creasing on citrus fruits : Light, temperature, nutrition (insufficiency or excess of N or K, lack of Ca), humidity… But those physiological disorders are usually associated with tree water status and soil moisture content.

When heavy rains happens after a drought period, the fruits that were under water stress absorb it very quickly, leading to rapid swelling which causes changes in the ultrastructure of the cell wall and cell loosening, thus resulting in fruit creasing or even fruit splitting. To fight this phenomenon, in addition to balanced nutrition, it is recommended to have an irrigation system that is able to prevent water stress, which might be complicated for a lot of climatic conditions. Another solution is to find a way to increase cell wall plasticity so that cell growth and cell extension can be promoted, which could also inhibit fruit creasing.

A classic solution can be the use of phytohormons like Gibberelin. They promote cellular division and is associated with growth. Even though Gibberelin treatments might improve the fruit quality, the possible restrictions related to this product (due to its pesticide registration) has led to the search for alternatives that improve the fruit setting and are compatible from an environmental and sanitary point of view.

There are TIMAC AGRO Technologies that have a double action to stop creasing even without phytohormones:
• This technology contains precursors of growth regulators
• It also contains messengers requested for the expression of these growth regulators

Therefore, applying such technologies can reinforce the plant’s ability for the biosynthesis of all the growth regulators that will influence the entire process of fruit production. It contributes to a balanced equilibrium between these substances, remaining under the natural regulation.

Contact your local TIMAC AGRO expert to find out how to keep your citrus safe from splitting!