By John Baxter
Even though sulfur is sometimes called a secondary nutrient, that doesn’t mean it plays a secondary role in citrus plant growth and development. Sulfur is an essential nutrient for healthy plant growth. A sulfur deficiency can have a major effect on crop production and quality because of its impact on protein synthesis, amino acids, and chlorophyll production.
Even though sulfur is often forgotten as an important element, and deficiencies can go unnoticed because of the lack of lab analysis targeting this nutrient element, it is an essential constituent of many proteins, vitamins and some plant hormones. Sulfur can also improve root growth and development, as well as root vigor and hardiness, as it enhances the development of nodules and nitrogen fixation by legumes.
Carbohydrate metabolism is also affected, as it is a major component of soil matter and becomes available to the plants as other organic matter decomposes. Plants also get a good source of sulfur through some irrigation water sources.
In Florida soils, 90% of sulfur is associated with organic matter, and soil humus contains about 0.5 percent sulfur. As a result, organic matter quantity and decomposition rate play a crucial part in the release of sulfur. Between the sulfur that comes from organic matter and the sulfur that comes from rain and irrigation, it would seem our Florida plants have the ability to receive a sufficient rate of sulfur.
Unfortunately, in Florida the sulfate available to be adsorbed by soils lies much deeper in the soil than the length of most plant roots. So, you must watch for the signs of deficiency, and be sure to provide your Florida plants with the needed nutrients for healthy growth and maximum crop yield.
If you have any additional questions about nutrients that may be needed in your Florida soil or how sulfur can best benefit your plants, reach out to any of our amazing Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC representatives, They’ll be happy to help you.
This column is sponsored by Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.
BIO: John Baxter is the Florida Division Manager of Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC. He has proudly served Florida growers at Helena for 25 years, and he also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association. For more information about Helena products or services, or to contact a member of the Florida team, call (813) 626-5121