HLB Alters Nutrition Needs

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arnold schumann

Yield and fruit size are not good measurements of the nutrition needs of HLB-affected trees, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have discovered. “So we decided to go with something that’s fruit independent for the study,” says UF/IFAS scientist Arnold Schumann of the Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred.

Schumann says he and others looked primarily at leaf size in determining HLB-infected trees’ nutrient needs. “Anybody that’s seen a greening-affected tree will realize (that HLB impacts leaf size),” he says. “You see the leaf size is not what it used to be. And it’s a most valuable variable … And if you apply remedial treatments like enhanced nutrition, you can see a change, too. The leaves do start to grow better and look bigger and more like they used to (before HLB).”

Schumann says greening changes everything, including the way the plant takes up the nutrients and uses those nutrients. He shares some early findings from his and others’ nutrient studies, and plans to provide more complete nutrient recommendations in the future.

Schumann reported on the research into nutrition needs of HLB-affected trees following a recent meeting of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. The presentation drew scores of growers to the Citrus Research and Education Center.

Hear more from Schumann:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large