Cover Crops Can Benefit Citrus

Ernie NeffCover Crops

Cover crops, which are not planted for harvest and sale, offer numerous potential benefits to Florida citrus growers. The benefits and additional information were addressed in a presentation offered at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) booth at Citrus Expo in August. The crops can improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. … Read More

Cover Crops Promising, But …

Ernie NeffCover Crops

Scientist Sarah Strauss has learned some interesting and promising things about the use of cover crops in Southwest Florida citrus over the past 2.5 years. But the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has not yet found that cover crops provide what growers seek most — increased yields. Use of the crops has also not yet … Read More

Research Update on Cover Crops and Nematicides

Tacy CalliesCover Crops, Pests

By Larry Duncan, Johan Desaeger and Homan Regmi Two field experiments were initiated in January 2019 to evaluate the efficacy of nematicides and cover crops for managing the sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) in a replanted grove affected by huanglongbing (HLB). The trees were nearly two years old when perennial peanut (resistant to sting nematode) plots were established in row middles … Read More

Florida Citrus Grower Discusses Issues

Ashley RobinsonCover Crops, Herbicides

Florida and California specialty crop growers recently gathered for a virtual discussion presented by J.L. Farmakis, Inc. to talk about issues unique to their crops and regions. Citrus grower Lee Jones with Cross Covered Caretaking represented the Sunshine State. He shared some of the struggles and successes of growing citrus in Florida. Jones says one of the biggest challenges he … Read More

What to Consider Before Planting Cover Crops

Tacy CalliesCover Crops, Tip of the Week

For those interested in cover crops for citrus groves, the end of harvest and the upcoming start of the rainy season is a great time to start planning. Cover crops can have a variety of benefits to soil health. These include increasing soil organic matter and microbial diversity and activity as well as reducing weed growth. While research is still … Read More

Survey on Cover Crops and Reflective Mulch

Ernie NeffCover Crops, Survey

Florida growers are being asked to take a survey on the use of cover crops and reflective mulch in citrus production. These systems are being investigated as potential means to improve soil health and reduce pest pressure from Asian citrus psyllids, which transmit the destructive citrus disease HLB. The survey is being conducted by researchers with the University of Florida Institute … Read More

Experimenting With Cover Crops in Citrus

Ashley RobinsonCover Crops, soil

Sarah Strauss, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) soil microbiologist, shared initial results from a UF/IFAS cover crop research trial during the March 23 OJ Break virtual meeting for citrus growers. According to Strauss, use of cover crops has received increased interest by growers as a method to sustainably and economically improve soil health and … Read More

Enhancing Soil Health With Cover Crops

Tacy CalliesCover Crops, Soil Improvement

By Sarah Strauss, Antonio Castellano-Hinojosa, Davie Kadyampakeni, Ramdas Kanissery and Tara Wade Soil health is generally synonymous with soil quality and refers to the capacity of a soil to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality and promote plant health. Soils are complicated ecosystems, and discussions of soil health must consider the links between soil functions and soil-based ecosystem services, such … Read More

Cover Crops for Citrus ‘Really Encouraging’

Ernie NeffCitrus Expo, Cover Crops

Healthy soil has high percentages of soil organic matter, which improves water-holding capacity, nutrient cycling and retention, and provides nutrients for microbes, along with other benefits. Unfortunately, Sarah Strauss noted, most citrus soils in Florida typically have 1 to 2 percent soil organic matter, “which is basically non-existent.” Strauss and other scientists are researching two ways of improving soil organic … Read More

Cover Crops Benefit California Citrus Grower

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Cover Crops

A California citrus grower says he has substantially increased water retention and decreased irrigation usage by planting cover crops. Chris Sayer, of Petty Ranch, says he has added about 3 percent organic content to his soil, which has reduced irrigation water usage from 2 acre feet to 1.25 to 1.5 acre feet. Sayer is a fifth-generation Ventura County farmer. He … Read More

Eco-Mowing Is Part of Cover Crop Research

Ernie NeffCover Crops, Research

Cover crop research in Southwest Florida will include looking into the effectiveness of eco-mowing, or moving mowed clippings under the tree canopy rather than leaving clippings in row middles. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) soil microbiologist Sarah Strauss discusses numerous aspects of cover crop and compost research being conducted by her and other UF/IFAS scientists. … Read More

Soil, Cover Crops and Compost

Ernie NeffCover Crops, Soil Improvement


Soil organic matter benefits citrus, but there isn’t much of it in Florida groves, says University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences soil microbiologist Sarah Strauss. Most Florida citrus land typically contains only 1 to 2 percent soil organic matter, says Strauss, who works at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. “Areas near the Everglades with muck … Read More

Cover Crops Bring HLB Recovery

Ernie NeffCover Crops, HLB Management

About eight years ago, Ed James had given up on a grove that was ravaged by HLB in the Howey-in-the-Hills area. “I had abandoned the grove,” he says. “I was going to fix the soil to plant alternative crops. And when I started fixing the soil with cover crops, the trees turned around and started producing again.” On Nov. 15, … Read More

Cover Crops for Citrus

Tacy CalliesCover Crops

By Sarah Strauss, Davie Kadyampakeni, Ramdas Kanissery, Tara Wade, Lauren Diepenbrock and Juanita Popenoe Cover crops are specific crops not intended for sale but for soil improvement and sustainability. They are increasingly common in the agricultural fields of the Midwest and other grain-producing regions because of the wide range of benefits not just for the soil, but also the cash … Read More

Citrus Grower Sees Success with Cover Crops

Tacy CalliesCover Crops

By Juanita Popenoe and Lauren Diepenbrock Ed James has citrus in his veins. He has been working and thriving in the citrus business since he was a teenager — from hoeing orange trees to owning a caretaking business that serviced thousands of acres. That is, until about eight years ago. In 2010, James looked around his personal 45-acre citrus grove … Read More