See the results of a three-year field study that looked at the affects of oak mulch in citrus soil for combating citrus greening.

A field study on oak mulch in citrus soil, conducted by researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS IRREC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Services (USDA ARS), has concluded after three years. According to a Citrus Industry article, the study was conducted to see the effects of oak mulch on Florida soils and citrus trees infected with citrus greening. See the results below.

Oak Mulch in Citrus Soil Field Study

In the field study, mulch made from oak hardwood branches was applied to the ground around 4-year-old Valencia sweet orange trees grafted on US-812 rootstock; three inches of oak mulch was applied once a year for three years. Control citrus trees were given no mulch.

Field Study Results

The field study on oak mulch in citrus soil found that the oak mulch had positive effects on the soil. These include:

  • Higher soil moisture
  • Higher soil phosphorus levels
  • Higher soil potassium levels Additionally,
  • Plots with mulch had a greater abundance of earthworms and fungi
  • Mulch plots had a higher microbial diversity compared to control plots

However, the study also found that the oak mulch did not improve tree growth or health. The article posits that “While oak mulch applications may be an effective option for improving soil fertility and microbiome diversity in the short term, improvements in HLB-affected tree health using mulch may take additional years to manifest.”

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