Nutrition and HLB

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HLB

kelly morgan

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) professor Kelly Morgan discusses the importance of nutrient leaf concentrations in HLB-infected citrus trees.

“The leaf concentration (of nutrients) is reduced in all HLB trees,” he says. “We’ve known that for a long time, since HLB was found in Florida.” Morgan, who works at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, says growers use leaf concentration as an indicator of tree health.

“The key is the sufficiency scale,” Kelly says. “The key thing growers need to be aware of is to keep their nutrients in the sufficiency range.” That range is described in a UF/IFAS publication, “Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees.” Kelly says if growers can keep leaf concentrations in the sufficiency range, “then that’s the best they can do.”

“The key (nutrients) are potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc,” Kelly adds. “Those seem to be the key nutrients you have to pay attention to. And what we found out is that you have to apply much more of all those things than IFAS recommended in the past. And that’s really the key to it.”

Morgan also addresses nutrition in relation to tree growth and yield. And he discusses the importance of pH in making nutrients available to trees. “Most growers are now adjusting the pH of their water or the pH of their soil,” he says. “That’s proving very beneficial.”

Morgan discussed nutrition issues at a recent seminar in Immokalee hosted by multi-county citrus Extension agent Mongi Zekri.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large