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citrus trees at UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Jose Prieto

The UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experiences. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941 Practical Work Experience. This is Jose Prieto’s summer experience:


Man sprinkling fertilizer in pot with plant.

Jose Prieto applying silicon fertilizer to an experiment. (photo provided)

My name is Jose Prieto and I am from Honduras. I am majoring in environmental sciences at UF. This summer and fall semester, I am working with Dr. Davie Kadyampakeni at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC).

Most of the work I do with Dr. Davie consists of gathering data in the field. This includes collecting soil and leaf samples and analyzing some of those samples in the lab. He also assigned me my own research project. I will be testing the effect of silicon fertilizer on citrus.

Experiential Learning
man wrapping a small tree in foil.

Jose installing a sap flow sensor. (photo provided)

The experience has been very enjoyable. I have learned many concepts related to plant nutrition and the management of irrigation. Some of these concepts I had already seen in the classroom, but I enjoy being able to experience them firsthand. It greatly deepens my learning and improves my understanding of them. Also, I have learned many things about managing research that are not in textbooks. For example, leading a team or being able to manage budgets.

Most of my previous experience and knowledge was focused on understanding soil. This allowed me to join what I know about soil with concepts of plant nutrition that were new to me. That way, I could attain a better understanding of the plant-soil relationship.

The greatest challenge I have faced here is probably working in the field under the skies of the Sunshine State. The temperature can get high sometimes, but that’s not something that can stop us from getting the job done.