Mike Roberts

From Free Soil Testing Kits to Bactericide Injections: Citrus News and More

Citrus is a major industry in the Sunshine State, and the developments concerning citrus are numerous as growers, researchers, and industry leaders all pull together to ensure the success of this unique Florida ag industry. Check out the latest developments in citrus here. 

Free Nutrient Sampling Starter Kits

Nutrient sampling is an important factor in any citrus operation. Thanks to a new UF/IFAS citrus nutrient management program, citrus growers can receive a free nutrient sampling starter kit for attending select citrus meetings in October. The kit is capable of handling leaf nutrient and soil sampling for a 20-acre block for a year with assistance from UF/IFAS four times in that year. The citrus meetings are:

  • October 8 at the CREC in Lake Alfred 
  • October 23 at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce 
  • October 29 at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee 

Off-Season Flowering Management in Citrus

Stressors like citrus greening, heat, cold, drought, and more can cause citrus trees to flower in the off season or to have prolonged periods of flowering. Off-season flower management can benefit citrus trees in many ways. One of the main benefits of managing off-season flowers in citrus is to combat postbloom fruit drop, or PFD. Spread by rain and high temperatures, PFD can seriously affect yield. 

Additionally, a three-year study using the plant hormone gibberellic acid (GA) to reduce off-season flowers on both Valencias and Navels showed that GA reduced off-season flowers without affecting yield, possibly improved yields, and created a “significantly higher” fruit detachment force (FDF).


Injecting Bactericides Study

A recent UF/IFAS study showed that injecting bactericides—which is not currently approved in Florida—is more effective than spraying. Trees given injections had increased levels of bactericides and decreased levels of citrus greening bacteria when compared with trees that were sprayed with bactericides. It’s a promising delivery method that could turn the tide against citrus greening.


This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.

BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.

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