Nutrition Questions in Need of Answers

Ernie NeffNutrition

Rick Dantzler

A sheet of “Nutrient Management Concept Questions” was passed out at the January Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) board meeting in Fort Pierce. It included questions that growers and researchers have agreed need to be answered in future nutrition-related research funded by CRDF. Rick Dantzler, CRDF chief operating officer, explains how the questions were developed.

“We had a Nutrition Working Group meeting for several months … to find out what the specific nutritional questions are that need to be answered,” Dantzler says. “What growers want to know is an answer to these specific questions that they have regarding a particular micronutrient or an irrigation regime, or a fertilizer application, whatever it is.” Dantzler says the sheet summarizes the working group’s questions. CRDF plans to suggest that nutrition researchers seeking CRDF funding propose projects aimed at answering the questions.

“Nutrition is the bridge to the HLB-tolerant or -resistant tree,” Dantzler says. “This nutritional work … is how the industry hangs on until we get to that greening-resistant or greening-tolerant tree.”


Here’s a summary of some of the questions on the sheet:

Is application of nutrients to foliage or soil more effective for uptake and utilization of nutrients?

What are the most effective nutrient formulations (e.g., citrates, nitrates, etc.)?

Are fertigation, controlled-release or conventional dry fertilization most effective for applying nutrients to the reduced root system of HLB trees?

Which nutrients have the greatest effect on improving fruit size, juice quality and quantity?

Soon after HLB was discovered in Florida in 2005, many researchers and growers focused on controlling the Asian citrus psyllids that spread the disease. In more recent years, most seem to have determined that proper nutrition management is the best way to cope with HLB in the short- to intermediate term.

Dantzler also says CRDF anticipates appointing a standing committee on plant improvement and breeding to ensure grower concerns about future tree development are addressed.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large