Citrus row middle management to improve soil and root health

Citrus row middle management to improve soil and root health

Report Date: 08/13/2019
Project: 18-059C   Year: 2019
Category: Other
Author: Sarah Strauss
Sponsor: Citrus Research and Development Foundation

The summer cover crop mix was planted in late May/early June at both locations. This mix included buckwheat, brown top millet, and dove millet. Sunnhemp was included in the mixes for the nitrogen-fixation treatments (1/2 of the rows).

Dataloggers and soil moisture probes continued to record soil moisture every hour. Root growth measurements using the mini-rhizotron tubes installed in both groves were performed in March and July 2019. Data on these measurements are currently being analyzed and will continue in Fall 2019.

Weed density and identification measurements were made in March and Aug 2019. Initial analysis of data collected from March 2019 revealed a general (72-84%) reduction in density of weeds in citrus row middles that received cover crop treatments when compared to controls with no cover crop in the row-middles. The next data collection is scheduled towards the end of this year.

Collection of samples for the annual assessment of leaf and soil nutrient concentrations, trunk diameter, canopy size, and soil microbial community composition have begun and will be completed for all treatments at both locations by the end of August. DNA will be extracted from soil samples and sent for sequencing analysis within the next quarter.

The postdoctoral research associate, Dr. Antonio Castellano-Hinojosa, joined the project on July 1. The graduate student under the supervision of Drs. Kadyampakeni and Kanissery, Miurel Brewer, began working in May 2019.

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