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Horticultural Sciences

"Florida's agricultural industry generates more than $103 billion in annual economic impact and employs more than 500,000 people. Florida's farmers produce nearly 300 commodities, and winter vegetables and citrus consistently lead the national rankings. To meet the needs of this diverse industry, research and extension programs in the areas of fruit and vegetable production, postharvest technology and weed science are delivered on a county, regional and statewide basis using a variety of methods including field days, intensive hands-on training, and distance learning. Excellence in programming facilitates the exchange of information and technology and contributes to the professional development of extension faculty and the agricultural clientele they serve."
--- Extension Programs, Horticultural Sciences Department

Editorial Team

  • Steve Sargent - Editor, Approver
  • Chris Gunter - Chair
  • aaguirre1 - ICS Editor


How to Build a Blackberry Trellis System: A Complete Guide

HS1482/HS1482by Muhammad A. Shahid, Shahid Iqbal, and Ali SarkhoshMay 23, 2024Blackberry (Rubus spp.) is a deciduous fruit crop. The fruit are usually small, round, and dark purple to black. Blackberry fruit is comprised of multiple drupelets that cluster together to form a berry, which has a glossy appearance when matured. Blackberries have a complex flavor profile that blends sweetness and acidity, and taste may vary depending on the variety and maturity stage. They are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blackberries are best grown in sub-tropical to temperate climates. Blackberry is a new emerging fruit crop in Florida, where they are harvested in May-June. There are several varieties, some of which are native to Florida. This publication aims to provide a general overview of the importance of trellis, different types of trellis, and their installation in blackberry production for county and state Extension faculty, growers, homeowners, and students interested in growing blackberries in Florida.Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises

Alleviating Astringency in Persimmon Fruit for Enhanced Palatability and Consumer Acceptability

HS1483/HS1483by Ali Sarkhosh, Fariborz Habibi, and Jeffrey K. BrechtMay 21, 2024Persimmon fruits are classified as astringent or non-astringent, depending on the level of astringency the unripe or partially ripe fruit exhibit at the time of harvest. Astringency in persimmon fruit is a sensation caused by tannins present in the flesh that can make the mouth feel dry, cause puckering, numb the tongue, and constrict the throat. Sometimes, it may also impart a bitter taste. The astringency decreases as the fruit ripen until it is no longer present in fully ripe fruit. While consumers typically prefer non-astringent varieties, the cultivation of astringent varieties notably remains common. The purpose of this publication is to introduce consumers, growers, Extension agents, and specialists to postharvest methods for reducing astringency in unripe persimmons, making them more palatable and acceptable for consumption.Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises

Preparing a Southern Highbush Blueberry Field for Machine Harvesting

HS1481/HS1481by Jeffrey G. Williamson and Douglas A. PhillipsMay 1, 2024Blueberries are grown commercially in Florida for the early-season fresh fruit market. The majority of Florida’s blueberry crop is currently harvested by hand to ensure high quality standards for fresh fruit production. However, hand harvesting is the single greatest annual production cost for Florida blueberry growers, and mechanization of berry harvests could greatly reduce production costs. This is particularly important when considering the volume of fruit imported into the United States from countries where labor rates are significantly lower. Also, at times the availability of harvest labor when needed may be an issue for Florida growers; mechanization could help address that issue. This publication provides information for commercial blueberry growers interested in adopting machine harvesting.Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises

Dehydrated and Freeze-dried Peach Fruit: A Prolonged Shelf-life Product through Modern Drying Techniques

HS1478/HS1478by Ali Sarkhosh, Fariborz Habibi, Steven A. Sargent, and Jeffrey K. BrechtApril 4, 2024Peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) is a valuable temperate fruit from the Rosaceae family, which also includes many other commercially important fruits such as apples and pears, apricots, cherries and plums, and blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Peaches are known for being a rich source of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, carotenoids, phenolic compounds, and vitamins, as well as possessing a high antioxidant activity, all of which are associated with various health benefits. Furthermore, consumers greatly value high-quality peaches due to their exceptional nutritional value and enjoyable sensory attributes. This publication aims to familiarize growers, Extension agents and specialists, and the public with insight into drying methods of peach fruit, including freeze-drying and dehydration, that can extend shelf life of this commodity for year-round enjoyment.Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises

Dried Persimmon Fruit: A Year-round Available Product

HS1479/HS1479by Ali Sarkhosh, Fariborz Habibi, Muhammad A. Shahid, Steven A. Sargent, and Jeffrey K. BrechtApril 4, 2024Persimmons (Diospyros kaki) are known for their sweet and flavorful taste. They are native to Asia, specifically China, and were first grown in Florida in the 1870s. Persimmons are still not as popular in the United States as other fruits, but interest has been growing in recent years. Persimmon fruit are generally classified into astringent and non-astringent types. Astringent varieties can have adverse health effects caused by tannins and must be fully ripe (soft) or artificially treated to remove astringency. Drying is a common method to preserve and extend the shelf life of persimmons while also enhancing the flavor, color, and nutritional value of persimmons. There are different methods to dry persimmons, including traditional and modern methods.Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises