Explore the methods one grove is utilizing to foster healthy citrus roots and boost production in the face of citrus greening.

Citrus greening has a negative effect on all parts of a citrus tree, but the roots take the hardest hit. One grove in Highlands, DeSoto, and Hendry counties, Paul Citrus Inc., is utilizing an array of methods to foster healthy citrus roots, according to a Growing Produce article. Explore the grove’s efforts below.

Efforts for Healthy Citrus Roots

The focus on healthy citrus roots started with a 550-acre grove in DeSoto County. Despite damage from Hurricane Irma, the citrus operation utilizes the following techniques to boost root health and production:

Subsurface irrigation. “With subsurface irrigation, we are trying to retain as much water as we can and keep those roots as moist as possible — not just where the emitters would be on microjets,” said owner/operator John Paul III in the article. The grove uses a “subsurface, closed-seepage system fed mostly by three large tailwater recovery ponds” and weather stations and field sensors connected to a tracking system to obtain optimal irrigation. “We are seeing more roots and improved tree health where we have the subsurface irrigation,” Paul said.

High density plantings and fertilizer. The grove utilizes high density plantings at rates of 276, 303, and 550 trees per acre, with some rootstocks having dwarfing qualities. They utilize a combination of dry and liquid applications, and healthy soil efforts like planting cover crops between rows and positioning mowing mulch back under the citrus trees. “We are applying the dry fertilizer in February, May, and August based on the trees’ need and if we see flush coming,” Paul said, adding that the subsurface irrigation pairs well with dry fertilizers.

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.