1712: Citrus first planted by Father La Ru, a Jesuit Missionary at Fort Mississippi, 35 miles downriver from New Orleans.
1727: Orange seeds from the West Indies planted by Jesuit priests in the city of New Orleans. All citrus trees produced from seed this time forward until the 1870’s.
1800: John Law colonists begin small scale citrus production on the East Bank of the Mississippi around Point a la Hache. Larger groves planted shortly after at the Woodland, Magnolia, and Orange Farm Plantations. Westbank groves planted down to Venice thereafter.
1840-1850: Satsuma mandarins introduced from Japan. First American satsumas were planted in Algiers, LA. Florida plantings soon followed.
1870: Two of the largest growers, George Schoenberger and W. S. Reddick introduce budding as a more rapid method of propagating trees. They also begin using sour orange and trifoliate orange as hardy rootstock sources.
1838: Oranges begin to be produced in marketable quantities, with a price point of $15 per 1,000 oranges. Fruit was shipped loose to market in sailing boats.
1840-1850: Mediterranean mandarin type citrus introduced to the U.S. by the Italian consulate in New Orleans.
1840-1900: Citrus fruits begin to be sorted, graded, and packed in boxes by the Weingerer, Laux, and Meyer Co. Steamboats used to transport boxed citrus to market.
1904: Citrus produced in Plaquemines Parish exhibited at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
1912-1913: ‘Owari’ satsumas are imported as budded trees from Japan, becoming the most popular variety, eventually replacing ‘Ikeda’.
1914: Citrus Canker first detected in Louisiana.
1916: Growers combined to build a drainage system in Buras, LA. Pumps were used to reclaim low-lying rice land previously cultivated by slaves for use in growing citrus. 80% of citrus grown in Plaquemines Parish is possible because of this work.
1937: 238,000 boxes of citrus produced in Louisiana (compared to 46 million in CA and 27 million in FL).
1940: Citrus Canker eradicated in Louisiana.
1945: A survey showed that Louisiana Navels and Sweets are the most widely grown varieties of citrus, making up a combined 40% of production. Satsumas contribute 20%, and Valencias 15%.
1946: Louisiana reaches maximum output, producing 410,000 boxes this year.
1948: The LSU AgCenter establishes the Coastal Area Station to research and provide support for the Louisiana citrus industry.
1951: A large freeze devastates the industry, resulting in the closure of nine packing houses.
1956: Lulich’s winery begins using a machine to crush oranges. The machine can squeeze enough juice for 200 gallons of wine in thirty minutes, a task that previously took two men all day.
1959: Louisiana produces 220,000 boxes of citrus, the largest yield since the 1951 freeze.
1960: There are twelve remaining packing houses in the citrus region. Fruit is hauled by tractor-driven wagon or trucks. Fruit is picked before it is fully ripe and treated with ethelene gas to color up. Growers charged 72 cents per bushel for this service.
1962: Severe cold in January and again twice in early 1963. Production drops. 15,000 boxes produced each year in 1962 and 1963.
1965: Hurricane Betsy. No reported production throughout remainder of 1960’s.
1975: Industry recovers somewhat to 2,700 acres, 2,200 in Plaquemines Parish.
1989: Severe freeze kills all trees, Lake Pontchartrain partially freezes over. Groves replanted.
2005: Hurricane Katrina results in the loss of roughly half of all trees in Plaquemines Parish.
2007: Plaquemines Parish reports a bumper crop.
2008: Citrus Greening first detected in Algiers.
2011: The LSU AgCenter Coastal Research Station closes due to budget cuts and saltwater intrusion. Citrus research work is shifted to the Hammond Research Station.
2012: Roughly 1,000 acres of citrus remain in Louisiana, the majority planted in satsumas and navel oranges. Hurricane Isaac destroys many trees in lower Plaquemines and in St. Bernard Parishes.
2013: Citrus Canker reemerges in Louisiana, first detected in June. A quarantine zone is established.
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