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. It 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 release of the nutrient. 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 the nutrient.
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
If you have any additional questions about nutrients that may be needed in your Florida soil, reach out to any of our amazing Helena
Agri-Enterprises, LLC representatives, They’ll be happy to help you.