Citrus and Subtropical Tree Crops

Citrus and subtropical tree crops (Crop Group 10) are produced on 28,000 to 34,000 acres in the Lower Valley. Grapefruit and oranges predominate, with small plantings of avocados, limes, lemons, and others. Descriptions of the acres and values of these crop types are shown in Table 12. Asterisks indicate representative crops for the Group.

avocadoAvocados. Mexican varieties produce smaller fruit but are better adapted to subtropical conditions. Production for local and roadside sales. Some estimates exceed 100 acres. Several soil and foliar diseases.

Grapefruit*. Commercial citrus production in Texas consists of 70% grapefruit and 30% oranges. Grapefruit are pink and red fleshed cultivars (Ruby Red, Rio Red, and Henderson/Ray) for seasonal gift packs or fresh markets. Hand harvested from October to May to assure ripeness and quality. Insect pests include leaf cutter ants, several mites, and scale that attack foliage and deface fruit. Weeds are managed on orchard floor by tillage and glyphosate. Some foliage and soil-borne diseases include greasy spot and post-harvest fruit rots. Texas ranks second in U.S. production.“Snowbird blight” is common near trailer courts. See Citrus Crop Profile or crop brief for details on pests and pesticide use.

orangeLemons and limes. Mostly backyard production in LRGV for local sales for culinary use and beverages. Approximately 40 acres of lemons and 20 acres of limes. Both are less cold hardy than oranges.

Oranges. Texas is the third largest producer of oranges; Marrs and navel types for regional fresh market sales. Cultivars are grafted to sour orange rootstocks for tolerance to alkaline soils and nematode resistance. Production is concentrated in Hildago and Cameron counties in the LRGV. Pests are similar to those in grapefruit.

pomegranateTangerines, tangelos, mandarin oranges, papaya, and others. Tangerine fruit has loose skin and the sections separate easily. Production is in small plantings, 10 acres or less; includes mandarin oranges. Marketed along with other citrus. Papaya is grown on eight acres, pomegranates on five acres. Satsuma oranges are grown on 50 acres in the Beaumont area.

Table 12. Citrus and subtropical tree crops (Crop Group 10)
Crop Statewide Production Acreage by Production Region
Acres Dollar Value per Acre Total Value (dollars in thousands) Lower Valley Winter Garden Plains Region Far West Texas Eastern Areas
Avocado 40 $1,200 $48 40 0 0 0 0
Grapefruit* 22,000 $1,500 $33,000 22,000 0 0 0 0
Lemons/limes 60 $800 $48 60 0 0 0 0
Oranges 6,000 $900 $5,400 6,000 0 0 0 0
Tangerines. etc. 130 $800 $104 80 0 0 0 50
Totals 28,320 $1,367 $38,600 28,180 0 0 0 50

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