Valley Citrus Grower: Crops Dependent on September Rainfall
WESLACO – Recent rainfall activity has one Rio Grande Valley citrus grower rejoicing.
September is supposed to be the wettest month in Texas.
Lately, the terms "abnormally dry" and "moderate drought" have been used throughout the month. Although this hasn't caused any major concerns for growers or communities, it doesn't mean the worry isn't there.
Mani Skaria is the owner of U.S. Citrus. He said irrigation helps their plants, but rain is vital to what they do.
"We keep our plants alive and healthy with the drip irrigation that we control, but natural rainfall is very important, especially during the month of September. It’s very important for the unique crop that we are growing here, this is Persian limes," he said.
Skaria explained there is a science to why rain is so important to citrus growers.
"Yes, getting some natural rain on these flowers, it gives that vitality and the vigor and the change in physiology that will induce flowering," said Skaria.
Skaria noted the rain is important to wipe the dust off the trees and give what he calls a "smile" to them. A lack of rain, or what Skaria calls "natural water," can lead the crop to not be as good compared to a year where there was more rainfall.
"We can produce very juicy plants, very juicy fruit, but this has to be in the month of January, February, March, April. And that is what we are doing and for that a natural rainfall, a couple of inches was excellent," said Skaria.
For now, Skaria is just happy that rain finally fell in the Rio Grande Valley.