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
These wildflowers, planted near a California almond orchard, can be extremely effective in aiding pollinators. (Photo credit: Katharina Ullmann, Xerces Society)
Crop Protection
September 19, 2016
Grant Awarded To Rutgers To Study Pollinators
Scientist in the school of Environmental and Biological Sciences receives $2.9 million grant to research bees and other pollinators. Read More
sweet corn field shot Gordon
Crop Protection
September 16, 2016
Misconceptions, Questions, And Answers On GMOs
Industry experts respond to questions on GMO sweet corn, squash, and potatoes. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thus Far
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Split view of Monsanto and Bayer company signage
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of Negotiations
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Illustration of CRISPR-Cas9
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation To The Next Level?
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
Crop Protection
September 9, 2016
Florida Winning In Slugfest Over Giant Snails
Since first being discovered five years ago, more than 164,000 of the invasive pests have been captured and destroyed. Read More
Photo credit:  Scott Bauer
Disease Control
September 9, 2016
Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council Awards Grant To Focus On Lettuce Diseases
A recent survey indicates disease control and management were identified as the highest priority. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Crop Protection
September 19, 2016
Grant Awarded To Rutgers To Study Pollin…
Scientist in the school of Environmental and Biological Sciences receives $2.9 million grant to research bees and other pollinators. Read More
Crop Protection
September 16, 2016
Misconceptions, Questions, And Answers O…
Industry experts respond to questions on GMO sweet corn, squash, and potatoes. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thu…
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of …
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation …
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Crop Protection
September 9, 2016
Florida Winning In Slugfest Over Giant S…
Since first being discovered five years ago, more than 164,000 of the invasive pests have been captured and destroyed. Read More
Citrus
September 8, 2016
Bayer Ups Monsanto Offer
German company increases offer by 2% for world’s largest seeds company. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Getting To The Root Of Improved Fruit An…
Taking a holistic approach to soil health is a key to increasing plant vigor and yields. High yields begin with Read More
Crop Protection
September 6, 2016
Purdue Entomologist Receives USDA Grant …
The goal of the research team is to help growers of cucurbits achieve effective pest control while protecting honeybees and other beneficial pollinating insects. Read More
Crop Protection
September 3, 2016
Dickeya dianthicola: A New Threat To Po…
The disease, identified in Maine in 2014, has caused significant losses in potatoes on the Eastern Seaboard. Read More
Crop Protection
September 1, 2016
Strategies To Control Wildlife On Your F…
Techniques to keep animals off your farm and away from your crops include scare tactics and habitat management. Read More
Crop Protection
August 30, 2016
New Biopesticide Available From BioWorks
Mycoinsecticide has quick knockdown effect and multiple modes of action. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2016
Monsanto And Bayer Merger Talks Advancin…
Sources say companies have addressed initial issues from initial conversation. Read More
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Avail…
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
Crop Protection
August 15, 2016
New Study Shows Neonicotinoids Pose Litt…
Washington State University researchers reveal the controversial pesticides aren’t dangerous for bees in the real world. Read More
Crop Protection
August 14, 2016
Improving Drought Resilience And Reducin…
Soil health experts gain ground on standardized measurements and identify future research needs. Read More
Crop Protection
August 5, 2016
How To Control Allium Leafminer, A New I…
First spotted in Pennsylvania in December 2015, the pest has targeted onion, leeks, chives, garlic, and other allium species. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]