Growing up on his family ranch outside of Ivanhoe, CA, Steve Paregien has farmed different citrus varieties his entire life. Over the decades he has learned to overcome battles with drought, pests, freezing temperatures- you name it.
When a local PCA and plant nutrition expert, Brandon Land, offered to do a trial on his Cara Cara trees with Tech-Flo foliar nutrients, Steve gladly accepted the offer. Those 2 blocks had long suffered from Manganese and Iron deficiencies and 2016-17 was worse than normal because of all the rain. After successfully working together preparing that trial, Steve asked if Brandon wouldn’t mind taking a look at some young navels that were really struggling.
This newer variety was developed in 2004 in Australia and recently introduced in Steve’s area. Steve is growing this variety because they ripen 4 weeks earlier than his other navels, plus the brix is high and acid is low throughout the 4-month picking season, so he can get a good return on the high-quality fruit. But despite his best efforts, he could not get the young trees to thrive.
Steve talked to the nursery and other growers in the area that were growing this variety, and it seemed that the Australian-bred variety had higher than expected copper requirements. Even with that knowledge, Steve and other growers still saw lack of vigor and visual signs of deficiencies with small, stunted leaves, yellow leaves, die back of terminal growth- and Steve started to mark trees for replant.
Brandon Land with Nutrient Technologies inspected the trees and saw signs of zinc deficiency and knew the young trees had high copper requirements. He noted an extreme lack of vigor as the second year trees looked like first year.
The final nutrient spray applied was:
2 quarts of Tech-Flo Copocal 0-14-0, 7.5%Ca, 5%Cu
2 quarts of Tech-Flo MZ10-6 0-4-2, 1%S, 6%Zn, 10%Mn
5 lbs of LB Urea
3 weeks after just one application, the results were noticeable. There was a considerable amount of lush green growth and the yellowing had disappeared. Steve re-evaluated the trees marked for replant in the 2 blocks, he was able to save 50%.
Brandon offers this advice to any grower struggling with nutrient deficiencies, “it’s important to read the label and calculate the applied nutrient per acre. That’s what matters. That’s the bang for your buck… if you aren’t putting enough on, you will never see a response and will be wasting your money. Knowing the specific needs of different crops and different varieties is the foundation, from there you can add nutrients to influence color, brix, or other qualities.”
Steve is now eager to see how the navel’s do compared to his other varieties. “I have invested some time and money into this new variety, and so have other growers. Now that we can get over this hurdle, I think we will see the ROI we had expected.”