Citrus row middle management to improve soil and root health

Citrus row middle management to improve soil and root health

Report Date: 11/12/2019
Project: 18-059C   Year: 2019
Category: Plant Improvement
Author: Sarah Strauss
Sponsor: Citrus Research and Development Foundation

Collection of samples for the annual assessment of leaf and soil nutrient concentrations, trunk diameter, canopy size, and soil microbial community composition was finished in late August.

A project meeting with the grove managers was held in early September, and optimization for the planting of the next cover crop mix were discussed. The fall cover crop mix was planted in early November at both locations. This mix included daikon radish, coker, Wrens grain rye, and dove millet. Sunnhemp, alyce clover, sesbania, dixie crimson clover, and yellow sweet blossom clover were included in the mixes for the nitrogen-fixation treatments (1/2 of the rows). Immediately after planting, the summer cover crops were mowed, either with standard mowing or with the “eco-mowing” (aka reverse mowing) for ½ of the rows.

DNA was extracted from soil samples and sent for sequencing analysis. Measurements using qPCR of specific N-cycling genes have begun and will continue into next quarter.

Dataloggers and soil moisture probes continue 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. The next data collection including weed density survey and biomass collection is scheduled towards the end of this year.

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