A UF/IFAS soil microbiologist shared preliminary results of cover crop research conducted in Florida citrus groves.

A March OJ Break saw Sarah Strauss, a soil microbiologist with UF/IFAS, presenting the preliminary findings in cover crop research that is being conducted in Florida citrus groves. The research is looking to see if the use of cover crops can improve soil health in citrus groves and tree production, especially in the face of citrus greening, according to a Citrus Industry article. Explore the preliminary results of the research below.

Cover Crop Research Results

Other research has shown that bolstering citrus tree root health helps trees to combat the symptoms of citrus greening. Improving soil organic matter (SOM) “improves soil’s water-holding capacity, nutrient cycling and retention, and provides nutrients for microbes,” according to the article. Improving soil health can improve both tree and root health, and the article maintained Strauss “believes increased soil health aids in the citrus greening fight.”

The article shared preliminary results of the cover crop research, including:

  • “planting cover crops increased SOM, soil nutrients and microbial activity.”
  • “increases in SOM and microbial abundances were found under tree canopies,” even though cover crops can only be planted in the row middles.
  • “cover crops reduce weed…up to 84%.”
  • There was no “significant differences in fruit quality or tree production” but it’s believed such improvements might take years to develop due to Florida’s soil’s low SOM.

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.