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Soil Health and Your Grove


We need a paradigm shift in agriculture.  I know that’s a bold statement, but let me tell you a quick story about why I feel this way.  

Over the holidays, I had the pleasure of touring citrus groves in Avon Park.  What I witnessed was a beautiful landscape and a proud agricultural community.  I walked acres and acres of citrus throughout the day, crawling on hands and knees, digging and smelling soil throughout the night.  I was amazed at the unique combinations of soil I witnessed, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.  

A quick check of a soil survey on the USDA NRCS website confirmed over 19 soil series on only 500 acres of grove!  A quick aerial scan showed that the health of the grove really depended on the health of the soil.  

The nature and properties of your soil determines your success, as your soil is responsible for regulating water, sustaining plant and animal life, filtering and buffering potential pollutants, cycling nutrients, limiting leaching and runoff, and providing habitat for billions of bacteria and fungi, which are the foundation of our ecosystem.  With all this diversity, we have to question our one-size-fits-all approach to farming, to which we have all become accustomed.  It is a system that does not consider the side effects of pesticides and high salt fertilizers on our delicate ecosystem; a system of fear that not enough is worse than too much.  

Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.  Since 2005, we have dramatically increased inputs searching for the silver bullet to citrus greening disease.  During this same period, we have watched citrus production drop from 260 million boxes to the latest USDA estimation of 38 million boxes.  

It is time to say goodbye to the old destructive system of the last 65 years and look to the future using the power of nature to heal our soils, plants and profits.  Contact Guardian Soil Solutions to arrange a free consultation for a prescription-based solution tailored to your unique soil type.

This column is sponsored by Guardian Soil Solutions.

BIO:  Josh Young is a proud former U.S. Marine and native of Plant City, Florida.  His passion for helping growers led him to co-found Guardian Soil Solutions, a full-service agribusiness that focuses on soil health.  Josh’s love of agriculture stems from his earliest days on his granddaddy’s farm.  For more information about Josh and Guardian Soil solutions, visit guardiansoilsolutions.com.