A UF/IFAS scientist reminded Florida citrus growers to maintain their citrus fertilizer programs with new therapies.

UF/IFAS associate professor of citrus water and nutrient management, Davie Kadyampakeni, reminded Florida citrus growers in a Citrus Industry article to remember their citrus fertilizer programs even with the new therapies, like oxytetracycline trunk-injections and plant growth regulators like gibberellic acid. Kadyampakeni said in the article that “nutrients are needed for optimal tree growth, fruit yields and juice quality. Any nutrient deficiencies could result in low yields and decreased revenue. It is important to make sure citrus trees always receive adequate nutrient supplies.” Kadyampakeni shared tips to ensure the optimal availability of nutrients; see them below.

Tips to Maintain Citrus Fertilizer Programs

Kadyampakeni shared the follow tips to ensure the optimal availability of nutrients as part of citrus fertilizer programs:

  • “Periodically take a soil test for pH and keep the soil pH between 5.8 to 6.5. Research results have shown that this is the optimal range for nutrient availability in citrus-producing soils, especially for trees affected by citrus greening.
  • Always take a leaf tissue test and make sure every nutrient is in the optimal or high range, according to current UF/IFAS recommendations.
  • Conduct soil tests 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, which should show up in leaf tissue results.
  • When leaf tests show excessive nutrient concentration, consider omitting that nutrient in the next four to six months to make sure the nutrient reverts to the optimal or high ranges for best tree performance. 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, make a minimum of 12 to 30 applications per year. If using dry soluble fertilizer, four split applications are ideal. When using controlled or slow-release fertilizer, two to three applications per year are recommended.
  • When using slow-release, controlled-release or conventional granular fertilizer sources, it is highly recommended those blends have both macronutrients and micronutrients included to achieve the best tree response.”

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