Importance of Citrus in CA
California growers supply over 80% of the nation’s fresh citrus and export to over sixteen foreign countries. California’s coastal region is one of the top three productive citrus growing regions in the state, including the region north of the Oxnard plain, which provides a unique combination of soil and climate conditions ideal for citrus production. There are over 3,000 growers farming 320,000 acres of citrus in California. These reasons alone make the local and state citrus industries economically important, it also means that management is crucial. Without healthy soil, orchards can become vulnerable to invasive pests and other deadly diseases.
The management history of most orchards in California involve conventional techniques such as tillage and synthetic pesticides and fertilizer applications. The goal of this project is to establish a perennial citrus orchard that integrates soil conservation practices that will rebuild soil health, reduce reliance on chemical inputs and lay the groundwork for long-term sustainability.
Benefits of Mulch and Compost
Managing Orchard Systems for Long-Term Resilience
Studying Compost and Mulch on CA Central Coast Citrus
Through partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) 2018/19 Healthy Soils Program
This project will study and demonstrate the application of compost and mulch on approximately 40 acres of newly planted citrus trees in Ventura County. Through the use of varying applications of mulch and compost, this project will evaluate the cost and benefit of:
- Low and high application rates
- Greenhouse Gas emissions
- Soil health benefits
- Water cycle benefits
- Tree health benefits of improved soil health in a perennial citrus system
Through funding provided by California Department of Food and Agriculture and partnership with Limoneira Farms, Community Environmental Council, and Agromin this project will engage Ventura County managers of row crop operations and managers of orchard systems, and showcase how improved soil health can assist in the establishment of healthy perennial orchard systems.