By: Ruth Borger
LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences citrus researchers have found that following the appropriate nutritional and irrigation guidelines designed for a specific grove is one of the most important and useful management practices to promote tree health and eventually produce high quality citrus fruit during the era of citrus greening.
Last year, UF/IFAS scientists offered Florida growers a unique nutritional counseling programming that provided free soil and leaf testing and tailored quarterly nutritional counseling in an effort to improve tree health for local operations.
The program has successfully supported growers in managing their groves and UF/IFAS researchers are ready to continue the program for a second year. UF/IFAS is accepting new registrations to participate in the program. If you are a grower currently participating in the program and wish to continue, you will be contacted directly by the UF/IFAS citrus nutrition team about how to proceed. For growers who have participated in the program this past year, we ask that you continue to sample the same block or grove this year. You will receive a personalized link to confirm your contact information and update the current status of your grove. Also, if you have another block that you wish to enroll or it is your first time participating in the program, please contact your local citrus Extension agent to register the additional grove.
UF/IFAS is also accepting new registrations for the nutrition counseling program. New growers wanting to participate in the program must have groves that are a sweet orange variety, five years or older, and have a minimum of five acres. The variety and age requirement would not apply to the blocks owned by those growers wanting to continue for a second year. Limiting the new block specific varieties and age is needed to better manage the variability in the nutritional analysis that has been seen in 2020. Each grower wanting to participate may have a maximum of three nutrition boxes pending box availability. If you would like more than three boxes, your name will be added to a waitlist. The deadline to register for 2021-22 is February 15, 2021.
Growers new to the program can register to participate by registering here: https://ufl.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2mkx5su1IOVW7R3.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.