Mike Roberts

New UF/IFAS Citrus Nutrition Program Focuses on Custom Nutrient Programs

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) unveiled its new Citrus Nutrition Program at three workshops in October and early November at UF/IFAS research and education centers. The workshops included free citrus nutrition boxes for citrus growers to utilize to get UF/IFAS faculty assistance in creating a tailored nutrient program and irrigation plan for their particular citrus groves. Explore the details of the Citrus Nutrition Program below.

The UF/IFAS Citrus Nutrition Program

A UF/IFAS blog on the new program maintained that the “basis for the program is to improve the overall health and productivity of citrus groves affected by citrus greening disease by refining production practices; in particular, adjusting fertilization programs.” Supplying adequate nutrients to citrus trees in the form of fertilizers has shown to be an important step in helping the trees to deal with the disease. 

Tripti Vashisth, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences and a citrus Extension agent, said, “This system will assist growers in creating a nutrient management program for their specific grove needs. Our expectation is that growers will understand the value of nutrient testing and customizing the citrus nutrition program for individual groves.” 

Growers use the nutrient boxes to take soil and leaf samples and send them to a designated lab via a prelabeled envelope. UF/IFAS Extension specialists and research faculty create a custom fertilization program and irrigation plan for that grower. Communication regarding the tailored nutrient program and irrigation plan takes place through email.

Considered a form of precision agriculture, tailoring a custom nutrient program and irrigation plan also supports the 4Rs of Nutrient Management, which advise using the 4Rs—the right rate of nutrients, from the right source, in the right place, and at the right time—to get the most bang for your fertilizer buck and act as a steward of the environment. UF/IFAS’s new Citrus Nutrition Program is sure to be a boon to Florida citrus growers looking to get the most out of their groves in the face of 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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