Laboratory tests of tricalcium phosphate (TCP) indicate it has potential use as a fertilizer that might help citrus growers cope with HLB, says Laura Waldo, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) laboratory manager.
“The hope is that it can help a tree by inducing root hair development and thereby allowing the tree to uptake nutrients more efficiently,” Waldo says. “The next step is to move it to the field in our sandy Florida soils and see if it performs the same (as in the lab).”
If the field trials are successful, she says TCP “would help trees to survive and tolerate HLB.”
Waldo works with UF/IFAS scientist Arnold Schumann at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. She made a presentation about TCP research at the recent Florida State Horticultural Society (FSHS) meeting in Maitland. Several of the citrus-related presentations at the meeting focused on scientific efforts to cope with HLB, the devastating citrus disease discovered in Florida in 2005. Many growers and researchers in recent years have put a heavy emphasis on ensuring trees receive good nutrition as a key element in the fight against HLB.
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