‘Replanting will take years’: RGV citrus farmers assess the damage from winter storm

Local News

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO) — Several weeks after the storm, farmers are starting to see the scale of how much of their citrus crops were destroyed in the arctic blast.

“We’re starting to see some growth, some positive signs on the trees,” said Dale Murden, CEO of Texas Citrus Mutual. “Some of the older trees starting to see some of the flush come out.  We’ll have to evaluate that to see how far back we will have to prune the trees.”  

The trees should be in full bloom soon, but with some green on trees, growers are hopeful.

“We have no idea if they will bloom or not, the bloom will make a difference on whether or not we have a crop next year.”  Says Tina Martin, Local grower

Murden said that thousands of acres of young trees may not survive, and replanting will take years.

“For one there is going to be a tree shortage.  So, if you wanted to replant the grove you’re probably two years from getting a tree maybe three,” Murden said. “From buying the tree, planting the tree, to getting it into production you know your talking hundreds of thousands an acre just to get back into production.”  

Farmers told KVEO that next month will be critical to see if older trees will survive.  Initial reports show the Texas Citrus Industry has suffered a $230 million loss.

Growers added that there is a definite need for assistance, especially those that didn’t have insurance.  Murden said that they are working with congressman and senators in an effort to make the assistance happen.

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