See considerations for building soil health in new citrus groves concerning preparation, planting, and establishing young trees.
Soil is the basis for good health in a citrus grove especially in the era of citrus greening. Building soil health in new citrus groves can start before trees go in the ground, according to a Citrus Industry article by Brad Turner, a citrus grower and operator of Sand to Soil Services in Lithia, Florida. Turner shared regenerative principles and soil-building processes that restore soils for optimal tree health and harvests. See an excerpt of his recommendations below.
Building Soil Health in New Citrus Groves
Turner shared that soil health is directly linked to citrus tree health and production. Excerpts from his article on principles that he has used for building soil health in new citrus groves include:
Preparation Prior to Planting
- “Mulches, quality compost, inoculums and biostimulants are valuable tools” to build stable organic matter in sandy soils.
- “Rotations of multispecies cover crops in the middles and maintaining them as close to the trees as possible is the fastest way to build organic matter through the “liquid carbon pathway” via root exudates.”
- “Integrating forage crops and intensively managing livestock on a field six to 24 months prior to tree setting will speed up the soil-building process exponentially.”
- “Consider acquiring trees at least six months ahead of planting with the goal of building the trees’ immune systems and increasing leaf Brix to 12 degrees or greater prior to planting. The higher the leaf Brix, the more resistant the trees will be to larval and sucking insects. A scaled down citrus under protective screen system could be used.”
- Consider “Top dressing containers with vermicompost and/or inoculums.”
- Consider “Adding fish hydrolysate and other biostimulants to the irrigation water.”
- Consider “Applying specific nutrition based on regular sap analysis results.”
- “Establishing and maintaining low-growing cover crops beneath newly set trees is beneficial but challenging. Utilizing organic mulches is an option as well as water-permeable synthetic ground cover. “
- “Block the rear discharge of your mower and cut a side discharge opening. Throw plant-available nutrients from the cover-cropped middles to the young tree drill.”
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.