Cover Crops and Soil Microbes
Florida soils, particularly those in Southwest Florida, have extremely low soil organic matter (SOM) content. As SOM is closely linked to soil microbial diversity and overall soil health, our research program is examining methods to maintain and possibly increase SOM and therefore soil microbial diversity and/or activity. One of the primary methods we’re examining is the use of cover crops, which are crops planted for purposes other than production, often planted during fallow periods.
Cover crops are a common practice for grain and corn production. However there is less information on optimal crops and methods for Florida soils and climates, and the impact of these cover crops on soil microbial communities. Our research program is examining methods to incorporate cover crops for both citrus and vegetable production, as well as determining their impact on soil microbial communities and activity, nutrient cycling, and production.