All In For Citrus Podcast, February 2024

Daniel Cooper All In For Citrus Podcast, Nutrition


Florida citrus growers are now well into their second application of oxytetracycline (OTC) via trunk injection to treat HLB. Per the label of both registered OTC products, after two applications, there is a one-year treatment pause.

So, growers will be formulating plans on what to do during the off-season for OTC-treated trees. That was the subject of discussion during the February episode of the All In For Citrus podcast. Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, advised that a solid fertilizer program is going to be critical.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of nutrition when we are dealing with HLB. I know that sounds like a broken record because we are constantly saying that, but it really is the No. 1 thing that you can do to keep trees productive and healthy,” Rogers said. “In some of our research blocks, we really have had some excellent results with some of our more expensive fertilizer programs. After four or five years, these trees have really healthy root systems, the canopies are lush and green, and the Brix has been very high in fruit. This is where we’ve been using these expensive controlled-release fertilizer applications.”

The high cost of these nutrition programs can be difficult for growers to afford, so researchers are beginning to seek out which elements are most responsible for the great results evident in those blocks.

“We do know there are differences in the micronutrient and macronutrient amounts and how they are delivered to the tree,” Rogers said. “We have allocated some funds to seek out how we can develop the right blend of minor and major nutrients at a cost much lower to growers.”  

To hear more about this research and catch up with Flavia Zambon, who was recently named UF/IFAS assistant professor of production horticulture of citrus and other tree crops, don’t miss the February episode. Also in the podcast this month is a sneak peek at upcoming events, including the Florida Citrus Show.

The All In For Citrus podcast is a partnership between UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Find all the episodes here.

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