Orange juice has been an essential part of the breakfast table for years. But there are chances of their yield reduction due to a disease. This disease, known as citrus greening, is affecting the supply of citrus fruits.
This disease has a devastating effect on the tree’s health. For instance, it affects Citrus’s appearance, production and economic worth. The worst thing is that this disease has no cure and causes plant death within 3 years.
Orange juice is an important part of breakfast because of its nutritional value. It contains potassium and vitamin C. No one can deny the importance of nutrients in orange trees.
Researchers at the University of Florida used the same concept and found ways to treat citrus greening in groves. Basically, they schedule the time of fertilization to manage the citrus greening. They publish their research in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.
They applied nutrients to the rootstocks of Citrus. It improved plant growth, hence, fruit yield.
How does Citrus greening spread?
Asian Citrus psyllid is responsible for the spread of citrus greening. This tiny insect feeds on the stems and leaves of citrus trees. It takes infectious bacteria from the infected tree and transfers them to other trees. It causes the death of the tree. However, you can still use its fruit for drinking and eating.
Research on nutrients application
Now the research question was when we should apply the nutrients. Alisheikh Atta and his team evaluated the application timing of nutrients, including magnesium, calcium and nitrogen.
Atta states that fruit yield and tree growth are related to nutrient concentrations in the leaf. He also mentions that it is possible to lower the nitrogen requirements of citrus fruit by applying nitrogen.
The study concluded that Leaves are magnesium deficient for most of the seasons. Therefore, there is a need to meet optimum nutrients through sustainable fertilization.
The University of Florida’s Immokalee location was where the team conducted their study during Jan 2017-Dec 2019. They chose the same soil type and planted two different types of rootstocks. Moreover, they manage the plants in the same way.
At the start of the study, they observed a high degree of citrus greening infection. They identify the infection by testing the leaves for the infection.
During the study, they used different types of nutrient management strategies. For instance, they apply nitrogen at different rates. Moreover, they also tried the application of secondary nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium.
The addition of calcium promoted
- Cell division
- Root growth
- Nutrient uptake
- Leaf growth
Addition of potassium
- Boosts photosynthetic rate
- Activate plant enzymes
Findings of the research
The study concluded that split nutrient application boosts citrus trees’ health. The researcher observed
- Vigorous tree growth
- Healthy leaves
- Improved fruit yields
- Increase in vegetative growth
- An increase in the fruit yield after the application of secondary nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium
Future research goals:
The premature dropping of unripe fruits is another problem with citrus fruit. It could result in higher fruit yield from the trees with citrus greening infection. So, this research will focus on reducing this premature fruit drop shortly.