After quite a run of late summer heat, temperatures are making their seasonal drop in early fall here in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. That means it’s time for citrus growers to take steps to ensure this year’s crops are well-positioned for success.

Good nutrient movement and facilitation within the plant are vital to properly size citrus and ensure the best quality fruit. With temperatures declining, cutting-edge technology from Redox Bio-Nutrients can make a major difference.

Utilizing diKaP™ at 3 to 4 pounds per acre immediately in September, followed 3 to 4 weeks later with the same application rate, provides enough carbon compounds for the energy and soluble potassium to finish the filling out process and boost quality going into harvest.

Employing the same time frame with Rx Platinum™, at a rate of 64 to 96 ounces per acre, is highly recommended. Rx Platinum™ takes technology from three of our products and combines it into a liquid form to give oranges, lemons, and mandarins the potassium and soluble carbon they need to thrive.

Growers using this approach should notice darker green trees, denser fruit, and a thicker rind. Stronger groves result in better quality fruit, with a longer shelf life, and better storability when in cold storage.

The first citrus of the season is harvested around Thanksgiving, while the latest varieties mature in the summer.  Taking the proper steps now should pay dividends in your groves when these harvests occur.

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Harvest is underway and the end of the season is fast approaching. Your trees and vines expended tremendous energy producing this year’s crop. Now is the prime opportunity to address nutrition for next year’s crop.

Addressing abiotic stress and key nutritional deficiency now will place trees and vines in an ideal state for bud formation and pollination next year. Carbohydrate reserves need to be met now so that trees and vines achieve maximum crop potential next year.

General Post-Harvest Programs

Almonds, like most nut crops, rely heavily on N, P, Zn, and B. After harvest, almonds begin the process of storing carbohydrates and differentiating buds for next year. Nitrogen, P, Zn, and B are the necessary nutrients needed to adequately supply the tree for next years crop set.

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Cherries generally take about 4 months from bloom to maturity leaving cherries as one of the fastest developing perennial crops. Harvest is completed in the middle of the year. Since this is the case, cherries actually have 2 key timings for post harvest applications.

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Pecans “post harvest” application should be made during shuck split. This would be the best timing to provide the most nutrient uptake for next years crop. Applying nutrients at this time in pecans gives the tree the proper nutrients to store for bud break and crop set for the following year.

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When proper nutrients are applied during bud differentiation, and at post harvest, carbohydrates are stored in place to produce the maximum crop for the following year. Pistachios rely heavily on N, P K, Zn, and B to produce the best crop possible.

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Like most perennial crops, walnuts depend on the nutrients they have stored over winter to push flowers and new growth in early spring. Root flush usually does not start until after flowers and leaves have already broke dormancy.

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Wine grapes are generally worn down by the time harvest comes around. Harvest usually takes a pretty good toll on the leaves and shoots of the wine grapes.

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Farmers in the Sacramento Valley have battled through profound drought impacts this year, with hundreds of thousands of acres left idle. Through all the struggle, they have persevered, and many are either finishing up harvests (with crops including almonds, tomatoes, and wine grapes), or preparing to start with others (including rice and walnuts).

Looking ahead, while everyone in our region hopes for some much-needed relief with a wet fall and winter to fill reservoirs, there are steps growers can take to help ensure the best results, regardless of what Mother Nature eventually provides.

The need for efficiency has never been greater for those farming in California. Growers and PCAs understand, during the long haul, focusing on nutrition is an effective strategy, regardless of the water outlook. To that end, calcium and potassium are key elements for healthy soil and strong plants. I’m working with our ag retailers on viable options for almond, walnut, grape and pistachio growers to employ. The foundation of this plan includes calcium to strengthen plants, through cell development and growth. Potassium is also needed to boost carbohydrate storage for next year.

In a normal year, which we seemingly haven’t had for quite some time, growers often incorporate gypsum in the ground and rely on rain to irrigate it in, then slowly make it available for the plants the following season. We feel a better approach in an uncertain water year is to finish the season with calcium and potassium, then, in the early season and summer, carefully target some in-season nutrient delivery.

To achieve this, we anticipate products including Mainstay™ Calcium, Rx Platinum™, H-85™ and Rootex™. Fortunately, in many cases, relatively small amounts of these products incorporated this fall and next spring can provide a solid nutritional foundation, while bearing in mind an ultimate objective- putting growers in the best position for a strong return on investment.

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This sweltering summer in much of the west will be punctuated by what may be a record-setting heatwave in much of California.

In the Central Coast region, there’s growing concern over abiotic stress, particularly heat stress. Crops especially vulnerable include berries, leafy vegetables, avocados, and late-season wine grape.

Growers are doing what they can to help their crops withstand yet another warm stretch.  Providing adequate irrigation and being proactive with crop nutrition plus incorporating stress mediating products can help maximize crop production through stress.  The key is to stay ahead of these stress events. Redox Bio-Nutrients are uniquely designed and formulated to provide crops highly available nutrition, plus the benefits of biostimulant components that help to mediate stresses from heat, salinity and other stress sources.

Some Redox Bio-Nutrient products to include in your program when the heat is on include the following:

diKaP™ helps with increased plant respiration and antioxidant production.  

Mainstay™ Si helps with antioxidant production, as well as improving calcium and silicon nutrition.

OXYCOM® Calcium is another Redox product that offers several benefits, including antioxidants, accelerating photosynthetic activity, and a boost in nutrition of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur. 

Fortunately, with our highly efficient products, a little boost can make a significant difference. 

Growers have invested so much time, energy, and resources into their crops. We’re all working hard to make sure this late heatwave doesn’t put any of that in jeopardy. 

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There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to calcium as an input for plant growth and development in turf.  One is the old school theory that on sand-based golf course greens or athletic fields, where a high pH sand system of 6 or higher, constructed of calcareous sand, giving a 75 percent or better reading of calcium on a base saturation soil test, you will never have a calcium deficiency, because of natural mineralization in the soil.  Another is you could have a couple of pounds of calcium per acre inch of water you’re irrigating with. All can be true, but they don’t tell the full story. 

In a sand-based, high pH system which is common in our industry, there isn’t a lot of available organic matter to mineralize. Understanding your greens and adding nutrients to your soil to achieve mineralization are vital to ensuring the best results in the short and long term.

When we talk about deficiencies, there’s a fine line of having some available calcium to having enough for everything the plant needs to do on a day in and day out basis.  The needs of a front yard are different than greens that are receiving 200 rounds a day, or a soccer field that is getting practice and game play every day of the week. Playing surfaces need to be great, and, if I’m not supplementing a calcium input to have professional conditions, then the greens may not be at their peak.  For strong roots, stronger plants and their recovery, calcium must be a priority.  Hoping for perfect soil conditions to create mineralization to keep a steady supply of calcium, or any nutrient flowing for that matter, is an unnecessary risk.  Especially when all it takes is a couple ounces per thousand square feet on a bi-weekly spray program to give the plant what it needs.

Redox works with thousands of customers across the world, including golf, ag and sports turf.  Those who have adopted a calcium input to improve plant performance and root development all say roots are deep and healthy, turf is easier to manage, there’s less disease pressure, battling through extreme temperatures takes less effort, and repair and recovery is there like never before.

Benefits of Ca++

There are many plant health benefits of calcium when managing turf on a golf course or a sports turf field. The most talked about are cell wall integrity, root development and soil structure.   A balanced soil structure is critical for managing turf of any kind, but this article will focus on calcium and plant health benefits sometimes overlooked or misunderstood by turf managers.

Cell Wall Formation

The plant cell wall is a semirigid, permeable wall surrounding each plant cell. This formation is vital to overall plant health, especially on turf areas that receive an immense amount of traffic, along with extreme weather growing conditions.

 As turf grows, new leaves are being developed every day. Uptake of calcium from the roots delivers the calcium up to the leaf, and the plant will send it to newer leaves that are being developed.  Older leaves on their way-out can become calcium deficient and be more susceptible to disease pressure.  This assumes you have a steady supply of plant available calcium in your soil system for the plant to be able to supply new leaves being developed to produce a strong cell wall, improve overall plant health, push new growth to repair and recover and help to withstand all the traffic that it is receiving.

The cell of the new leaves will develop with or without adequate levels of calcium, meaning you are going to have strong cell wall formation or weak cell wall formation. That all depends on the amount of available calcium in the soil system every day.  Weak cell wall formation means more susceptibility to disease pressure, drought tolerance, lower photosynthetic activity, reduced traffic tolerance, the list goes on.

Root Development

Plant available calcium in the soil for root development is another major factor for a healthy stand of turf. 

Soils with low CEC, like sand-based greens and some athletic fields, typically have very low plant available calcium levels.  Even native soils that make up tees and fairways that have higher CEC levels doesn’t guarantee you have higher levels of available calcium. Turf managers need to soil test and supplement calcium inputs as needed to maintain a healthy root system.

For the root to grow, it must put on new cells, and that new cell at the root meristematic tip is predominately made of calcium. 

If there’s a lack of soluble calcium in the soil, you won’t have root growth or development.

 In turf, a fibrous root system of delicate root hairs is what we want. The root hairs are what pulls water and nutrients out of the soil.  You can do a great job of soil moisture management and fertilizing, but if your root system is weak or limited, your results will be weak and limited. 

I have never met a turf manager who doesn’t want a better root system or a stronger plant. Applying a plant available source of calcium all season long is the new school way of growing turf.

 The plant will decide what it needs to do with the calcium it takes up, our job is to keep a steady supply of it there.

Examples of rates:
USGA spec greens, low CEC, usually around 5 or less.  Very Low plant available calcium.

TurfRx™ Ca 2-3 oz./1000 Biweekly applications.

Native soil tees/Fairways:  with higher CEC soils usually around 20.  Low plant available calcium.  TurfRx™ Ca 1 to 2 oz./1000 monthly applications.

Sports Turf:  Sand based low CEC soils.

TurfRx™ Ca 1 gal/acre monthly rates

Sports Turf:  Higher CEC soils, around 20, Loamy/Clay type soils. TurfRx™ Ca 64 – 88 oz./acre monthly

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