The Importance of Nutrient Leaf Concentrations in HLB-Infected Citrus Trees
See how nutrient leaf concentrations are affected by citrus greening, and what citrus growers can do.
Citrus greening, also called HLB, causes all sorts of problems for citrus trees, and citrus growers and researchers are still trying to find what works best. One University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) professor shared how growers can use nutrient leaf concentration as an indicator of tree health in a CitrusIndustry.com article. See a summary below.
Using Nutrient Leaf Concentrations
Kelly Morgan, with the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee said, “The leaf concentration (of nutrients) is reduced in all HLB trees. We’ve known that for a long time, since HLB was found in Florida.”
He shared that one of the best ways to utilize nutrient leaf concentration to gauge tree health is the sufficiency scale. “The key is the sufficiency scale,” he said in the article. “The key thing growers need to be aware of is to keep their nutrients in the sufficiency range.” The sufficiency scale can be located in a UF/IFAS publication, “Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees.”
Morgan shared, “The key (nutrients) are potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Those seem to be the key nutrients you have to pay attention to. And what we found out is that you have to apply much more of all those things than IFAS recommended in the past. And that’s really the key to it.”
Morgan added, as another measure to help increase nutrient concentrations, that “Most growers are now adjusting the pH of their water or the pH of their soil. That’s proving very beneficial.”
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