Harnessing the Power of Soil Microbes

Tacy CalliesSoil Improvement

Although often ignored due to their intangible nature, microorganisms play significant roles in agriculture. The natural microbial processes allow for long-lasting interactions between nutrients, plants and soils. Masanori Fujimoto, assistant professor at the University of Florida, is leading a research and education project titled “Harnessing Microbes for Sustainable Food Production.” The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s … 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

Living With Greening by Improving Soil Health

Tacy CalliesSoil Improvement

By Ronald G. Doetch I am a lifelong farmer/agronomist and, at the age of 73, have worked with many different crops through the many changes in agriculture challenges and production practices. I moved to Florida four years ago to grow a few oranges and have a firsthand look and understanding of the relationship of soil health to tree decline and … Read More

Soil Organic Matter Helps Fight HLB

Tacy CalliesSoil Improvement

By Sean Stokes, Thomas Borch and Pankaj Trivedi The benefits of soil organic matter (SOM) in agriculture have been well documented and include both improved water and nutrient retention. SOM is also essential for a properly functioning rhizosphere microbiome. However, the natural level of SOM in the sandy, acidic soil of Florida’s citrus grove regions is often around 1 percent, … 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

Components of a Healthy Citrus Soil

Tacy CalliesSoil Improvement

By Sarah Strauss and Ute Albrecht There is increasing discussion and interest in soil health from both growers and researchers. Soil health is generally synonymous with soil quality. It can impact not just sustainability, but also improve water-holding capacity, nutrient availability, yield and overall grove productivity. In citrus, soil health is particularly important because of the reduction of root mass … Read More

Soil Improvement with Organic Mulch

Tacy CalliesSoil Improvement

By Jim Hoffman This article is about my experiences with incorporating organic mulched materials into select areas of groves at Estes Citrus in the Indian River region. Our citrus groves consist of bedded, 40-acre blocks where it is common to have three or four distinct soil types in each block. Unfortunately, we have several sand-pond areas that have a history … Read More