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
Cucurbit leaf crumple virus
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crumple Virus
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Purple nutsedge on tomato plants
Fruits
June 16, 2017
Florida Farmers Fighting to Find Their Way out of the Weeds
For growers in the Sunshine State, the battle with pesky plants out of place never ends. Read More
Illustration of CRISPR-Cas9
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your Farm [opinion]
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Crop Protection
June 12, 2017
Registration Open for Ag Innovations Conference
Event focuses on microbial control strategies. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Crop Protection
June 7, 2017
Field Scouting Guide for Squash Powdery Mildew
Learn how to spot and treat a pest that impacts all cucurbits. Read More
Purple nutsedge on tomato plants
Cucurbits
June 6, 2017
Scientists Zone in on Precision Weed Control
Surgically placed fumigants at the base of promising pest management method for vegetable growers. Read More
Crop Protection
June 1, 2017
Can Attract-and-Kill Technology Protect Fruit Against Brown Marmorated Stink Bug?
Since devastating many Mid-Atlantic farms in 2010, this Asian-borne pest continues to cause growers significant headaches. New research, however, may offer insights into treatment options that minimize the use of harsh chemicals. Read More
Fruits
May 31, 2017
Is CRISPR/Cas9 a Viable Solution for the Control of Crop Insect Pests?
Gene editing has the potential to aid growers in control of invasive pests. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarship to Next Generation Researcher
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Mating Disruption Product Approved
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sought by EPA
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Crop Protection
May 14, 2017
Springtail Is an Unexpected Vegetable Pest
One springtail species is targeting germinating seeds, impacting seedling growth. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control for Rodents and Gophers
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a …
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Certis Bolsters Biopesticide Business Po…
Addition of LAM International to allow for expansion of product development. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Cor…
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your…
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Crop Protection
June 12, 2017
Registration Open for Ag Innovations Con…
Event focuses on microbial control strategies. Read More
Crop Protection
June 7, 2017
Field Scouting Guide for Squash Powdery …
Learn how to spot and treat a pest that impacts all cucurbits. Read More
Crop Protection
June 1, 2017
Can Attract-and-Kill Technology Protect …
Since devastating many Mid-Atlantic farms in 2010, this Asian-borne pest continues to cause growers significant headaches. New research, however, may offer insights into treatment options that minimize the use of harsh chemicals. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sou…
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Crop Protection
May 14, 2017
Springtail Is an Unexpected Vegetable Pe…
One springtail species is targeting germinating seeds, impacting seedling growth. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control fo…
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2017
BASF Adds Pest, Crop, Weather Modeling t…
ZedX’s agronomic models help farmers make better production decisions. Read More
Crop Protection
April 29, 2017
BioSafe Systems Introduces Broad-Spectru…
Alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur for tree and vine crops. Read More
Crop Protection
April 26, 2017
A Guide to Experts Tips on Vegetable Ins…
Here's a resource to quickly reach advice on how to handle insect pests in most regions of the U.S. Read More
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Flori…
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Biggest Vegetable Insect Threats for 201…
Entomologists across the country share which pests they see as potential problems for vegetable growers this year. Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Potato Psyllids are Gaining Resistance t…
Neonicotionoids, a key weapon in the grower’s arsenal against potato psyllids, is becoming less effective, a team of researchers from Texas Read More