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Orchard Root Development Featured
August / September 2022

Fertilisation A Basic, Sustainable Strategy

SA Fruit Journal: August / September 2022

With fertilisation, the emphasis should be on maintaining tree health and sustaining the ability of an orchard to maintain sufficient good-quality yields. By Pieter Raath and Coenraad Fraenkel

In addition to the negative publicity that the agricultural sector faces regarding the detrimental impact of unnecessary fertilisation on the environment, the escalating cost of fertilisers is forcing producers to pursue ways to reduce fertilisation inputs. Therefore, a proper balance between unreasonably conservative fertilisation and unwarranted application of nutrients is required. A producer who wants to manage his fertilisation inputs judiciously needs to understand certain principles and take them to heart.

Soil and leaf analysis is cheaper than unnecessary fertilisation. The first habit to develop is a routine of taking proper, representative soil and leaf samples (refer to the Handbook for Fertilisation of Citrus in South Africa, or the video on the CRI Website for detail on soil sampling methodology).

Soil samples do not have to be taken annually, but informed decisions regarding fertilisation requirements cannot be made without proper knowledge of the orchard's soil chemistry and nutrient content.

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