South LA citrus growers hoping for better crop

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HOUMA, La. (AP) - One of the last commercial citrus growers in south Louisiana says he lost hundreds of trees to last winter's cold, but hopes that a good crop in his remaining trees will let him fill his orchard back up again.

Terrebonne Parish's Terry Breaux tells the LSU AgCenter that his crop is sweetening earlier than usual.

LSU AgCenter horticulture agent Barton Joffrion says the state agriculture department tested satsuma sweetness earlier than usual, and ended early in Terrebonne Parish.

That doesn't seem to be the case in Plaquemines Parish, the heart of Louisiana's $11.6 million citrus business, where fruit seems to ripening later.

Joffrion also has a tip for backyard growers: pick fruit as soon as it ripens, because leaving it on the branch saps energy from the tree.