Florida’s citrus growers can soon get additional help in managing citrus greening through the newly developed University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Nutrition Program. The basis for the program is to improve the overall health and productivity of citrus groves affected by citrus greening disease by refining production practices; in particular, adjusting fertilization programs.
Growers are invited to attend one of three workshops being offered at UF/IFAS research and education centers as faculty explain how this new UF/IFAS program will work. After the workshops, participants will receive a kit — called a citrus nutrition box — which they can use to collect leaf and soil samples for nutrient analysis over the course of the following year.
They will be asked to collect samples and send them to a designated Florida lab in pre-addressed envelopes. The results then go to UF/IFAS research and Extension faculty, who will review them and create a customized program for each grower.
“This system will assist growers in creating a nutrient management program for their specific grove needs,” said Tripti Vashisth, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences and a citrus Extension agent who’s leading the workshops. “Our expectation is that growers will understand the value of nutrient testing and customizing the citrus nutrition program for individual groves.”
Preregistration is required to attend the meetings, which will be offered on the following dates and places:
- Oct. 8 at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Click here to preregister.
- Oct. 23 at the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce. Click here to preregister.
- Oct. 29 at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee. Click here to preregister.
All workshops are from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, with on-site registration starting at 9:30 a.m. These workshops will also offer the latest information on nutrition management for HLB-affected trees.
“The best thing we can do to keep the trees productive is to alleviate any kind of stress from the trees,” Vashisth said. “By living with HLB-affected trees, we have learned that good nutrition can help the trees, and there is no one citrus nutrition program that fits every grove. This program will help growers build a customized nutrition plan for their grove. Through the program, it is the hope to build a foundation for understanding the specific nutrient needs and application for the grove in years to come.”