Citrus growers are looking for anything that will help in the fight against citrus greening, also known as HLB, but it looks as if soil microbial amendments aren’t one of them.
Growers attending a December field day near Fort Pierce were given the results of field trials looking at the effects of soil microbial amendments, and the results weren’t positive. Not all test results can be good, explained Harold Browning, chief operations officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, in a Citrus Industry magazine article. “Everyone wants to see positive results when we do a test,” Browning said, adding, “not everything we test … is going to be able to solve this problem for us, though it may contribute in a small way.”
Looking at Soil Microbial Amendments
Citrus researchers have been looking into as many avenues as possible to slow or stop citrus greening. It was hoped that soil microbial amendments would help improve the health of the citrus trees themselves, thus helping the trees to overcome the bacteria on their own. Field trials have been on-going for a number of treatments.
However, the results of the field trials released in December show that soil microbial amendments don’t seem to help citrus trees infected with HLB. With the best minds at work, it’s just a matter of time before a workable solution is found.
The Positives of Negative Results
However disheartening, negative results do have a silver lining, Browning maintained in the article. Basically, such negative tests can help growers to narrow down the list of inputs they spend precious resources on. “In this realm, we really want to see what things work and what don’t. And if they don’t work, that’s important too,” Browning shared.
With negative results, growers can stop putting money into inputs that have no proven scientific benefit and focus their budgets on those inputs that are proven to be beneficial in the fight against citrus greening. An example of such would be coordinated psyllid sprayings as part of a Citrus Health Management Area (CHMA).
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.
Image courtesy of Nadiatalent.