Methods of pH Management for HLB-Infected Trees

HLB
HLB

Tripti Vashisth, right, shows growers how to monitor soil pH.

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Tripti Vashisth told growers at a citrus workshop in Sebring on Sept. 25 how to maintain proper soil pH for HLB-infected trees.

She said HLB-affected trees seem to perform best when soil pH is 6.0.

Vashisth said pH levels need to be adjusted continuously. “Our soils are known to be more alkaline, and our water is more alkaline,” she said. “So you are putting alkaline water on alkaline soil, which means the pH will keep changing.” She said pH levels must be monitored often to ensure they are not too low.

“Lab testing at least once a year is needed … Growers should not overlook that … You don’t want to know when it’s too late,” Vashisth advised. She noted that lab testing is expensive, but accurate. For more frequent pH testing, Vashisth advocates the use of a pH meter or litmus paper in the field. In a “hands-on” session, she showed growers how to use both.

In conclusion, she said, “We need to take good care of our plants. That’s what seems to be working at this point. The good nutrition and good irrigation with overall good growth management is what’s working.”

Hear more from Vashisth:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large