See macronutrient and micronutrient recommendations for Florida citrus growers from a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week.

Optimal citrus growth, fruit yields, and juice quality are all affected by nutrients, with deficiencies leading to low yields and a decrease in revenue. Ensuring your citrus receives adequate nutrients is a must, according to a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week; it shares macronutrient and micronutrient recommendations for citrus growers. See the details below.

Macronutrient and Micronutrient Recommendations

The Tip of the Week includes the following macronutrient and micronutrient recommendations and recommendations for optimizing the uptake of nutrients.

Macronutrient recommendations

(Primary macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K); Secondary macronutrients: Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S))

  • “Ratio of N:P:K is important if yield is to be optimized. While P is always least in this ratio, N and K should always be applied at equivalent ratios of about 1:1, or somewhere close to ensure optimal and rapid tree growth and the right pound solids and Brix/acid ratio in the juice.”
  • “There is no specific ratio for the macronutrients Ca, Mg, and S.”
  • “When applied following current recommendations,” secondary macronutrients “help improve root health and immunity (Ca and S), metabolism (Mg), and growth (S).”
  • “Ca (raise pH) and S (lower pH) can help moderate pH to the optimal level.”

Micronutrient recommendations

(boron, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, and others)

  • “Improve the accessibility and movement of macronutrients in the plant, particularly for trees affected by citrus greening.”
  • “Apply micronutrients to the root zone via fertigation or spreaders to ensure improved root flushes and overall tree health.”
  • “Supplemental foliar sprays can ensure any deficiencies are corrected in real time.”

Recommendations to Ensure Optimal Availability of Nutrients

  • “Periodically do a soil test for pH and keep the soil pH between 5.8 to 6.5. Results have shown that this is the optimal range for nutrient availability in citrus-producing soils, especially for trees affected by citrus greening.”
  • “Perform a leaf tissue test and make sure every nutrient is in the optimal or high range according to current University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recommendations.”
  • “Do a soil test but watch for the leaf tissue results because while some soil tests may show high nutrient content, the nutrient may not be readily available to the plant.”
  • “When a leaf nutrient test shows excessive nutrient concentration, consider omitting that nutrient in the next four to six months to make sure it reverts to the optimal or high range. Excessive nutrient concentration may result in too much vegetative growth at the expense of fruit yield and juice quality.”
  • “Split applications of nutrients are encouraged. For example, if using fertigation, apply a minimum of 12 splits per year. If using dry soluble fertilizer, four split applications are ideal. When using controlled or slow-release fertilizer, make two to three applications per year.”

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