See recommendations for improving soil health in citrus groves with the aim of helping trees mitigate the effects of citrus greening.
Citrus growers are always on the lookout for how to best help their citrus trees to mitigate the effects of citrus greening and remain productive. Improving soil health and nutrition is one avenue growers are using. According to a Florida Grower article, citrus grower Ed James hosted a seminar recently featuring industry experts presenting on plant nutrition and soil health. Explore the information shared below.
Improving Soil Health in Citrus Groves
Dane Terrill of Crop Services International spoke on regenerative agriculture, defining it as “a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soil, improves watersheds and enhances ecosystem services.” He listed the principles of regenerative agriculture as:
- Understanding the context of
your farm operation
- Minimizing soil disturbance
- Maximizing crop diversity
- Keeping the soil covered
- Maintaining living roots year-round
- Integrating livestock
He also said, “Carbon is the most important ingredient in any fertile soil,” and that the five M’s of soil health are minerals, microbes, matter, moisture, and management.
RJ Rant, owner of Terraform Ag and Nutrilink Biosystems discussed how farm practices like tillage, chemicals, fertilizers, and water quality all impact soil microbes. “Do not overapply nitrogen; it will crash the system,” he advised.
He also suggested growers look into polyculture. “If all you are growing is citrus, soil microbes will be less diverse. If you feed microbes a more diverse diet, more will wake up and become active in the soil. More root biomass comes with more microbial diversity. Microbes release carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which is the key to soil health.”
Joe Mullinax, a plant pathologist for Denele Analytical Inc.,
- Potassium is critical for sugar levels.
- High sodium interferes with fertility.
- Too much nitrogen can lead to problems with pests.
- Look at what nutrients leave with the crop to determine what needs to be put back on.
- Total available nitrogen increases when soil microbes increase.
- It’s not about how much nitrogen you put out. It’s about putting out the right type at the right time.
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.