Administration, Financial & Sales Division - Citrus Research & Education Institute
Soil & Leaf Analysis

 

Fertilizer and Liming Recommendation Service - Soil & Leaf Analysis Service is provided to growers to help them decide on the right type and amount of fertilizer and amount of lime to apply in their groves.

ImageTests conducted determine the level of nutrients in the leaf or soil sample and so help the grower decide which nutrients are in adequate amounts and which ones are in short supply: and so need to fed to the tree in greater quantities. CREI dries and packages the samples in the CREI lab and then sends them to A&L Southern Laboratories in Florida for Analysis. The samples can be sent express (FedEx) (1 week for the results to be returned to the grower) or regular post, to Florida (1 month for the results to be returned to the grower). The charges for this service are detailed below.

Many of the citrus grove soils in Belize are very acid and so need liming if the trees are to produce good yields. For optimum production for citrus and optimum availability of nutrients in the soil the soil pH needs to be around 6.0. CREI can conduct a soil pH test in their lab and let the grower know their soil pH within a few days. CREI staff can also provide advice on the amount and type of lime that is needed to adjust the soil pH to the required level of 6.0.

Why Take a Soil pH Test

ImageSoil pH (meaning "power of Hydrogen" or the level of activity of Hydrogen ions in the soil solution) is a measure of how acid (pH below 7), neutral (pH of 7) or how alkaline (pH above 7) the soil is. The optimum soil pH for citrus tree growth and development is 6.0 (slightly acid) but in some the acid soils (such as those in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts) many years of heavy rainfall, fertilizer application and farming has caused the pH to fall. pHs of 4.0 or even lower are not uncommon on soils in the Stann Creek District that have not had lime applied for many years. In such acid soils, many of the nutrients that the growers apply as fertilizer will be "locked-up" by the soil and so not be available to the tree. Probably more seriously is the fact that concentrations of soluble aluminum in acid soils can reach high levels and this is toxic to the tree roots and stunts their growth. In these acid soils, therefore, growers will need to adjust the soil pH to 6.0 by applying lime. Deciding on the amount and type of lime required is important if the grower is to effectively change the soil pH to the correct level and this decision can only be made properly by obtaining the results of a soil pH test which is available through the CREI laboratory.

Costs of Standard Tests1 Conducted on Soil & Leaf Samples Delivered to CREI for Processing.
Test Type A&L Code Tests Conducted Cost / sample2 Cost of Shipping (1 lb / sample) 2 Time for Results
Soil S1A & S3 Organic matter, estimated Nitrogen release, available P, K, Mg, Ca, pH, CEC,% base saturation, sulfate S, Zn, Mn, Fe, Cu, B $45 Regular Mail: $12 / 2.2 lb + $12 / parcel

Express Mail: $50 first 2.2lb + ea 1.1lb, $5

FedEx: $62 / 1.1 lb
1 month



10 days



7 days
Leaf PT2 N, P, K, Mg, Ca, Na, S, Fe, Al, Mn, B, Cu, Zn $50 Regular Mail: $12 / 2.2 lb + $12 / parcel

Express Mail: $50 first 2.2lb + ea 1.1lb, $5

FedEx: $62 / 1.1 lb
1 month



10 days



7 days
Soil   pH (in water) - CREI Lab $10 Not applicable 2 days
Taking Soil & Leaf Samples by CREI Staff 3         $25 / sample uniform 20 acre plot
1While these are the most frequent tests that we conduct for growers A&L can conduct a wide range of tests on their soil and leaf samples. Contact CREI for more information on these tests and the respective costs.

2Due to the number of samples CREI sends each year; CREI receives discounts on the cost of analysis and a discount on the FedEx cost of shipping. The charges shown here include the discounts. Charges for sample analysis for people that are not members of the Association carry an additional 15% charge.

3CREI encourages growers to take their own soil and leaf samples (see below) but CREI staff can take the samples for the grower for an additional charge.

Taking a Soil & Leaf Sample - in Brief!

ImageGrowers should take one set of samples from a uniform area of their grove that is no more than 20 acres.

For soil: Aim to take one sample for each 20 acres of uniform grove. Sub-samples should be collected (in a core 6 inches into the ground) in a random or "W" pattern across the grove and combined into a plastic bucket. Next, the sub-samples should be thoroughly mixed before taking out the sample, which should be at least 2 lbs, for sending to CREI for processing. If the sample is to be sent to A&L Laboratory for processing CREI will dry the samples and then send 1 lb of the dried sample to A&L for analysis.

ImageFor leaf sampling: It is very important that the right type of leaf is taken to obtain accurate results. The leaves should be the 4-7 month old leaves that are formed from the Jan/Feb flush. That is, the 4-7 month old leaves should be taken from May to Sept. Leaf samples should be taken from the same trees where a soil sample is taken - collect 8 leaves (two each from the four opposite corners around the tree) from 20 trees across the 20 acres block that is being sampled. These leaves should be placed in a paper bag and sent to the CREI lab the same day for processing. CREI will immediately dry the leaves and grind them before sending them to A&L for analysis.

 


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