Soil Microbial Communities for Citrus

microbial

Sarah Strauss

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences soil microbiologist Sarah Strauss discusses her research on ways to potentially use microbes to improve tree root health. She says microbial communities in the soil can be manipulated indirectly by changing the soil environment or directly by adding specific organisms to the soil.

“We’ve seen impacts on the overall soil microbial community itself, but we’re seeing less clear results with plant production and plant growth … A lot of these changes to the community might happen quickly, but changes to the community that will have an impact on plant growth might take a little bit longer,” she explains.

Strauss says adding compost or cover crops to citrus groves is “a long-term approach to provide carbon and food for microbes that are in your soil.”

Strauss, who works at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, discussed her research at Citrus Expo in August.

Many growers and researchers have focused heavily on soil issues and root health since the discovery of HLB in Florida in 2005. HLB-infected citrus trees lose much of their root mass, and most in Florida are infected by the disease.

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large