John Baxter

The Role of Phosphite for Your Citrus and Other Crops

Phosphorous (P).  It might be a single word, but it has a complex meaning for Florida growers.  Part of that meaning includes how it enhances nutrient uptake and translocation. However, it does much more than that.  When a tree or plant has the right nutrient balance, it is able to correct any toxicities; it’s able to better tolerate diseases or pests; it is more efficiently using water resources; and— perhaps most importantly— it improves fruit quality and yield.
As an example, nutrient balance and uptake is an integral component to the overall fight grove owners continue to wage against citrus greening (also known as Huanglongbing or HLB).  A citrus tree that has the right balance of nutrients and enhanced uptake will have a better chance at fighting this disease, as it tends to attack the health of the tree right at the roots (as discussed previously in my last column).  
But how can soil phosphite technology— the process by which phosphorous acid (H3PO3) is neutralized with KOH to form potassium phosphite (KH2PO3) a.k.a. phosphite— help?  The short of it is field studies have shown that phosphite accelerates foliar uptake of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and most micronutrients. How?  Phosphite has one less oxygen molecule than phosphate, giving the plant a higher degree of solubility and mobility.
The Florida Division team here at Helena Agri-Enterprises, Inc., with its expertise, products and leading-edge agricultural services, is an ally for you in helping find that phosphorous balance, whether you’re a citrus grower or growing one of our hundreds of other commodities here. For questions on how this technology can help your crop health and yield, call us at (813) 333-3182.
This column is sponsored by Helena Agri-Enterprises, Inc., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or its advertisers.
BIO: John Baxter is the Florida Division Manager of Helena Agri-Enterprises, Inc. 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.

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