Dr. Herman J. Reitz (1916-2008)
University of Florida Citrus Experiment Station
Recommended Fertilizers & Nutritional Sprays for Citrus
International Society of Citriculture
Dare Citrus Committee
Florida Department of Citrus Better Fruit Committee
State Department of Agriculture’s Budwood Registration Technical Advisory Committee
Florida Department of Citrus Fruit Classification & Standard Committee
Dr. Herman J. Reitz was born in Belle Plain, Kansas, on July 5, 1916. Reitz spent his childhood on the family wheat farm with his four older siblings. Reitz’s early education took place in one room school houses. He went on to attend Kansas State College and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1939. Reitz then attended Ohio State University where he earned his Master of Science Degree in 1940. Reitz later received a PhD. in Horticulture from Ohio State in 1949.
Reitz also served in the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Lieutenant Junior Grade and saw three years of duty in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After the war’s end, he married Alice, a sergeant from the Women’s Army Corps. Reitz came to Florida where he joined the staff of the University of Florida Citrus Experiment Station in 1946.
While working as an assistant horticulturalist, Reitz spent many years conducting research on many topics pertinent to the Citrus industry. He eventually published dozens of articles on citrus nutrition over the course of his career. Reitz’ article “Recommended Fertilizers and Nutritional Sprays for Citrus,” was considered the authoritative work on the subject. In 1950 Reitz was promoted to Horticulturalist and in 1957 replaced fellow Florida Citrus Hall of Famer A.F. Camp as Director after the latter retired. Reitz would head the Citrus Experiment Station in Lake Alfred until 1982 when he was selected as a Professor Emeritus by the University of Florida.
Reitz served with many different organizations throughout his career. In the American Society for Horticultural Science, Reitz was Chairman of the Quarterly Publication Committee, General Chairman of the 1970 Annual Meeting, Editor of the Operations Committee, and a member of the Executive and Finance Committees. He was a member of the Florida State Horticultural Society and eventually served as its Secretary, President, and Chairman of the Society’s Executive Committee. Reitz was President of the International Society of Citriculture and was on the Board of Directors from 1971 to 1978. He was Chairman of the DARE Citrus Committee, the FDOC’s Better Fruit Committee, and the General Chairman of the Arrangements Committee for the 1970 American Society for Horticultural Science Meeting. Finally, Reitz was a member of the Joint State Agricultural Station-U.S. Department of Agriculture Task Force on Fruit, the State Department of Agriculture’s Budwood Registration Technical Advisory Committee, and the FDOC’s Fruit Classification and Standard Committee.
Over his long career, Reitz won numerous awards and honors from a variety of organizations including: the J.H. Gourely Award in Pomology, The Presidential Gold Medal from the Florida State Horticultural Society and the Plant Protection Award of Eminence from the Florida Department of Agriculture. Reitz was also selected to be a member of several academic fraternities. In 1972 Reitz was selected to be a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In honor of his many years of invaluable service to the Florida citrus industry, Reitz was honored with induction into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1976. He was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1982.
Dr. Herman J. Reitz passed away on March 14, 2008.