See information on weed management and compost use in Florida citrus groves in the UF/IFAS Tip of the Week.

Composting has been hailed as an option for improving citrus production, combating citrus greening, and could become part of citrus best management practices. UF/IFAS’s Tip of the Week shares information on weed management and compost use for those citrus growers wanting to use composting, in an accompanying Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

Details on Weed Management and Compost Use

Researchers are studying the use of compost in citrus groves to improve soil quality and add additional nutrients to the soil. The article maintains that “Compost addition tends to enhance the soil’s ability to retain both nutrients and water, thereby improving fertilizer-use efficiency.”

However, compost can also bring weeds into the grove. Weed management and compost use must go hand-in-hand so that good of compost use does not introduce extra weeds into the grove. Similarly, compost will not suppress existing weeds, but it will supply them with extra nutrients just like the citrus trees.

UF/IFAS’s Tip of the Week shared the following best practices for managing weeds when using compost in citrus groves:

  • “proper composting procedure is expected to eliminate viable weed seeds due to heat exposure”…but “incorrect composting temperature or lack of periodic turning and mixing the pile during the composting process can result in the survival of weed seeds in the final product.” Make sure you are turning and mixing compost adequately.
  • Test compost for surviving seeds by mixing “several portions of compost taken from various parts of the product pile with potting mix in a 1:1 ratio and spread it in flats or trays. Water the trays twice a week to keep the contents moist and place them in a warm location with decent light, where the temperature is maintained at or above 70° F. Observe any weed seedlings that emerge over the following two to three weeks.”
  • “Never apply the compost until all the existing weeds are effectively managed.”
  • “Weeds will eventually start to emerge from the soil in the composted area. Control them when they are young and before they go to seed to prevent future infestation.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.