Growers Focus on Constant Fertilization

Ernie Neff Nutrition


tripti vashisth

A grower survey conducted by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) horticulturist Tripti Vashisth shows growers are managing their nutrition programs precisely. Vashisth discusses growers’ focus on providing a constant supply of nutrients, the amount of nutrients applied, use of humic and fulvic acids, and the number of psyllid sprays applied.

“Their (growers’) philosophy for fertilization is a constant supply, no matter what form of fertilizer they are using,” Vashisth says. “They are very progressive. They are taking good care of the leaf nutrient analysis and making their fertilization programs more dynamic.” She says that applying a constant supply of nutrition seems to be helping trees. “That’s good to see because that’s what we have been recommending for a long time.”

According to Vashisth, the amount of nitrogen applied depends on what type of fertilization method growers choose. “Generally, the range that I have seen is from 120 pounds of nitrogen to about 220 pounds. And that all depends, again, on the method of application, tree age and location,” she says. Those using fertigation generally apply slightly less nitrogen, she adds.

“Micronutrients are applied slightly higher than the IFAS recommendations, but they are not very high; they are not significantly higher,” Vashisth says. “And the leaf nutrient analysis shows them to be in the optimum range.”

She says most growers are using humic and fulvic acid “to improve the organic content of their soil.”

The number of insecticide sprays used annually to control HLB-spreading psyllids “depends on the grower, but generally what I’ve seen is about four to eight sprays,” Vashisth says. “Everybody is focusing on dormant sprays.”

“Everybody that I’ve talked to has agreed that they are better growers now than they were pre-HLB,” Vashisth says. Her comments summarize a presentation she made at Citrus Expo in August.

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Tacy Callies

Editor of Citrus Industry magazine