Getting To The Root Of Good Soil Health Requires Some Digging

Four Questions With Dave Gilliam, regional sales manager for Horticultural Alliance

Dave Gilliam1. Have you observed citrus growers turning more attention to root health in recent years?

Gilliam: Absolutely! In past years prior to HLB and canker, trees could be grown chemically with great success with little to no concern of soil health. This could be done with little regard to a tree’s natural ability to fight disease as well. Most natural defenses start on a microbial level in the soil. Healthy soil = healthy roots and healthy roots = healthy trees. It seems that many growers are starting to realize the importance of truly healthy soils. I do not believe that we will ever get back to the days of growing free of chemicals, but there is no doubt as to the realization that microbes were created for a reason and that past growing practices have taken a serious toll on this invaluable part of the soil environment.

2. Are growers more willing to try new things in light of the onslaught of HLB?

Gilliam: Many growers still rely heavily on unnatural or chemical means of getting trees to production. However, the general consensus seems to be that we can really push these trees to the four-to five-year mark only to watch them quickly decline from HLB symptoms. This being said, most folks are desperate to find a way to get their trees beyond this point and are willing to try just about anything to do so.

3. How important is it to get new citrus plantings off to a strong start in the presence of HLB?

Gilliam: Of course, the answer to that question is very important. But, I think the real question should be: What is a really a strong start for citrus? There is no doubt the growing programs currently in place are producing some fine looking one- to three-year-old trees. I do not think it is possible to grow them any better at least as far as physical appearance is concerned. They look great. However, how strong are these trees really? In light of our current growing methods, is there a void in the systems plants require to naturally fight off disease for the long haul?

4. Anything else you would like to add?

Gilliam: As we move forward through the trials of HLB, I believe it extremely important we make a conscious decision not to overlook the importance of natural soil health. There is little argument that past agricultural practices have greatly compromised overall soil health of long term farmed land. There was great wisdom and council in times past of leaving grounds fallow. Since this is not always an option in our fast-paced society, there are products available to accomplish in a short time what it has taken nature years to do. This will — however — take some thinking outside the box, a willingness to try things not previously tried, and the knowledge that not all products labeled “biological” or “microbial” will accomplish exactly what you need them to. Mycorrhizae, bacillus, and trichoderma all serve their own different functions when it comes to soil health as well as other bio-stimulants that can increase their performance and vitality. The delivery packages and care of each of these is critical when it comes to how they will work for you. Soil health is by no means the silver bullet when it comes to dealing with HLB, canker, or whatever is to come, but we do believe it should be the foundation we can and will grow upon.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
Disease ControlPartnerships Key To Healthy Northwest Vines
May 26, 2015
Washington’s grape industry has seen accelerating growth over the past several decades. That momentum is owed, in part, to the Read More
Disease ControlInland Desert Nursery Is Main Source For Washington’s Clean Vines
May 26, 2015
The Judkins family has been in the business of clean grapevines for more than 40 years. Today, their Inland Desert Read More
Tomato bug
Insect ControlStop Tomato Bugs From Sucking Your Crops Dry
May 21, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable pest. Read More
UF/IFAS developmental biologist Dennis Gray looks at the progress of grapevines in a vineyard.
Crop ProtectionResearcher Using ‘Precision Breeding’ To Create Disease-Resistant Winegrapes
May 20, 2015
Breakthrough would mean significant savings on pesticide and fungicide sprays. Read More
FruitsGreen Fruitworm Numbers High In Pennsylvania
May 19, 2015
In their latest insect report, David Biddinger and Grzegorz Krawczyk, tree fruit entomologists discuss the timing of pest control applications Read More
Apples & PearsApple Scab Alert
May 18, 2015
Kari Peter of Penn State University Extension warned growers of possible apple scab and fire blight infections following the rainy Read More
Disease ControlHow To Control Disease During Rainy Weather
May 18, 2015
The recent warm, wet weather conditions are prime for fungal and bacterial diseases, says Annemiek Schilder of Michigan State University Read More
The Latest
UF/IFAS developmental biologist Dennis Gray looks at the progress of grapevines in a vineyard.
Crop ProtectionResearcher Using ‘Precision Breeding’ To Cr…
May 20, 2015
Breakthrough would mean significant savings on pesticide and fungicide sprays. Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
Apples & PearsTips For Apogee Applications
May 13, 2015
Michigan State University Extension educators say applications at king bloom petal fall help suppress fire blight. Read More
CitrusSyngenta Rejects Monsanto’s Buyout Bid
May 8, 2015
Company says $45 billion offer undervalues future prospects. Read More
Bagrada bug
Crop ProtectionFlorida Potato, Cole Crop Growers Offered Chance To Per…
May 7, 2015
Workshop to focus on major, as well as, emerging insects and diseases. Read More
Crop ProtectionVestaron’s Bioinsecticide Now Registered For Use On Mor…
May 6, 2015
Bioagriculture company Vestaron has received expanded EPA registration for its biological insect control products. These bioinsecticides, which are derived from Read More
Crop ProtectionBioWorks Launches Two New Versions Of RootShield Biofun…
May 5, 2015
BioWorks, Inc., has launched two new versions of its popular RootShield® biological fungicide, RootShield Seed Treatment and RootShield AG. RootShield Read More
Crop ProtectionExpect The Unexpected With Plant Diseases
May 1, 2015
Whether or not you are a basketball fan, it’s hard not to notice all the publicity and hype surrounding “March Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Emergency Exemption On Carro…
April 28, 2015
Crop protection company Adama has announced that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has issued a Crisis Read More
Crop ProtectionBrandt Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
Brandt, a manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, has added Zonix biofungicide to its line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix, manufactured Read More
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, …
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Fungicide, Orondis, Announced By Syngenta
March 18, 2015
The fungicide provides protection against late blight, downy mildews, and Phytophthora root and stem blights. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Registration In California
March 16, 2015
The product is now approved in California for use on a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNufarm Announces Two New Fungicide Registrations For Sp…
March 13, 2015
Both 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use on greenhouse vegetables and backyard fruit. Read More