Solving the Puzzle of
The puzzle of recovering from Citrus Greening (HLB) is coming into clearer focus. Grower trials in south and central Florida coupled with research from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (UF-IFAS) point to soil health as the key… that’s the PERFORMANCE NUTRITION® approach.
Eric Barkwell, president and owner of Unlimited Fruit in Vero Beach all but abandoned his 20- acre grapefruit grove in Vero Beach three years ago. He said, “It was so riddled with Greening that I had just given up and wasn’t going to spend any more resources on it. Then I was approach by John Flynn of PERFORMANCE NUTRITION to conduct a 10-acre trial on the site and I thought why not? I have nothing to lose.”
Today, Barkwell reflects back and said that by remediating the soil, improving the root structure and increasing the microbial activity his grapefruit trees have positively responded. “There was no new tree stock, bagging of trees or use of pesticides involved with this program,” Barkwell said. “The technical and agronomical support of Flynn and his team made the program easy to implement.”
Barkwell’s success has impressed his neighboring grove owners to the point where they stop by and inquire how he has achieved such a resounding result in a relatively short time. He said, “I’ve heard ‘holy-cow!’ what a difference between the pre and post-trial of the grove more times than I can count when they see the one remaining row of infected trees on the 20-acre property.”
This year Barkwell expects the grove to produce 70% of the pre-greening production for his roadside fruit stand, Peterson Groves and Nursery located on 66th Ave. in Vero Beach. This will put him back on profitable footing. Barkwell added that this is the first time in at least the last five years that his trees have had clusters of grapefruit and he has high hopes that this program will bring Citrus back as the signature crop in Florida.
Soil health, along with foliar applications of critical organic compounds, are keys to building healthy trees. Healthy trees are more resistant to Citrus Greening and less attractive to insects and psyllids. “The replicated results across the Citrus growing regions has been very rewarding to see,” said John Flynn, Southeast Regional Sales Manager for PERFORMANCE NUTRITION. “It’s very rewarding to help struggling grove owners stay in the business they love.” The program is easy to implement. There are eight simple guidelines to follow that create healthy growing conditions using patented and proprietary eco-friendly products like NutriSmart®-SB soil inoculant, Krystal Klear® chelated micronutrient solutions, Prudent® RX specialty fertilizer, Pennamin® amino acids and Kelpene® plant extracts.
According to recent research conducted by UF-IFAS in Southwest Florida Research and Education Center and in Lake Alfred, researchers have found healthy soils have a greater water holding capacity, provide for greater nutrient availability and microbial functionality and diversity. The research further described the role microbial action plays in increasing soil organic matter (SOM) that leads to overall tree health that helps combat diseases like Citrus Greening. (Strauss, Castellano-Hinojosa, Ramdas Kanissery, Tarra Wade and Davie Kadyainpakeni)