See the take-home messages from a UF/IFAS researcher’s presentation at the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute on micronutrients in citrus.

“HLB-affected citrus trees benefit from micronutrients at higher-than-recommended rates,” was the main message of a presentation given by UF/IFAS researcher Tripti Vashisth at the remote Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute, according to a Citrus Industry article. Essentially, Vashisth maintained that applying micronutrients in citrus at a 20 percent higher-than-recommended rate can improve productivity in trees with citrus greening. See the other take-home messages below.

Micronutrients in Citrus Take-Homes

According to the article, Vashisth’s research included the following findings:

  • Roots of HLB-affected trees are functional in nutrient uptake. They have a high requirement for certain secondary nutrients and micronutrients.
  • HLB-affected trees and roots are highly efficient in nutrient uptake.
  • Added stress of nutrient uptake to meet shoot requirement may result in rapid decline of roots.
  • Good fertilization improves plant defense response.
  • HLB symptoms intensify under high soil pH.
  • Root density is related to bicarbonate stress, thus reducing yield at high pH.
  • Healthy trees are not affected by soil pH as much as HLB-affected trees are.
  • Performance of HLB-affected trees and healthy trees are comparable at low pH.
  • At low pH, HLB-affected trees have enhanced plant defense.

According to the article, Vashisth’s take-home messages concerning micronutrients in citrus, based on the above findings, were:

  • A constant supply of nutrients and soil acidification is beneficial.
  • The fertilizer program should be site specific to address specific tree needs.
  • Soil-applied micronutrients are better than foliar micronutrients.
  • The preferred soil pH range for current Florida citrus is 5.8 to 6.5.
  • Due to the HLB-affected tree’s small root system, the fertilizer supply should be constant to the tree. Use small and frequent doses.
  • Focus on leaf nutrient analysis rather than the rate of fertilizer applied; trees perform better when they are in the high end of the optimum range.

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