Tom MacCubbin Talks Citrus Tree Care With GrowScripts

Just this last weekend Rich Johnston of GrowScripts was able to sit down and talk with Central Florida's Tom MacCubbin - Extension Agent Emeritus from the University of Florida IFAS on his radio broadcast Better Lawns and Gardens heard on more than 20 radio stations. [6.52 MIN]


Good morning and welcome to Better Lawns and Gardens. One of the answers to citrus greening appears to be keeping our trees as healthy as possible. This is what the growers are doing… At no other time in Florida citrus culture can I remember we doing so much for our citrus trees. You know. We used to put them out there, fertilize them a couple times a year, and that was about it… Maybe an insect spray or two… But we need a year round care program. And this is also the case for other fruit trees too. If you want production... The trees have to be healthy.

TOM: Right now please join me in welcoming Rich Johnston of GrowScripts… and… Rich good morning to ya.

RICH: Good morning... How are you today?

TOM: Ya... I am fine. Did you realize all those bees and hives went to California this time of the year… Thats a lot of them…

RICH: I actually did not. Thats actually a very, very cool fact.

TOM: Ya... But we get them in Florida too; for the citrus and everything. Now your products are more than just fertilizers because we give away… And thank you for doing that. A tree care kit or a tomato care kit… And… What goes into these kits?

RICH: Well... You’ve got pretty much everything in these kits to take care of a plant. The possibilities with this is that you have six products… Everything from your NPK fertilizer, micronutrient, plant conditioner and soil amendments… It’s a combined group of those that really make a difference when you're actually growing the plant in the backyard. By combining all those things your able to just take care of it in the phases that it needs; what it needs; when it needs it. One of the best ways I like to say when I put it together is it’s just the right product for just the right time.

TOM: Ya... And you know… I figure with especially citrus this time it looks like the grower are really beefing up their care of the citrus trees and this is what your product is going to do because it has the fertilizer, it has the micronutrients, it has the insect control and more… And. So it looks like this is very timely that you're introducing this…

RICH: Ya... It’s one of those things. With my background I came from education into agriculture and from agriculture I've learnt how to do this, and I think the consumers really need something like this. The homeowner needs this in order to really have that healthy tree because it’s… you know… Um. Side by side with a grove your able to do the same things that a grove owner or grower is doing in order to have that healthy tree to produce the fruit… And also support taking care of the insects that you need to take care of… So it… its like the across the fence kind of thing…

TOM: It’s a complete package. Now... You have a care approach to this. At which… Where we are doing something fairly often right?

RICH: Yes... What I've done is taken the products and then put a calendar together that suggests… Based off of 1-6 you have a calendar that tells you the suggested application times within the kit itself so… …for your avocado tree, for your citrus tree, for your tomato plant you’ll get the products within it and it will say we recommend that you apply this product this specific time of the month throughout the year…

TOM: Ya.

RICH: Throughout the growing season…

TOM: And I specifically love the fertilizer. This is a slow release fertilizer. A quality product and you also have the micronutrients included… Why the micronutrients?

RICH: Well your micronutrients are your minor elements… One of the best ways I explain it is it’s vitamins for a human being, but it’s vitamins for the plant. So the plant needs those minor elements in order to actually sustain itself. It brings it into a balance, if you don't have one minor element in the balance that it needs it is not going to be able to uptake and use another element… So when you combine and apply your fertilizers and you're feeding care across the year what you end up with is getting a balanced nutritional program for the tree… and that actually allows the tree to take in what it needs.

TOM: Ya... I. And I think minor nutrients have become more and more important. We find more and more plants with minor nutrient deficiencies… I’m not sure why that is but its important that we apply them…

Now... You also have a systemic insecticide, bactericide, fungicide… And this is a natural type product right?

RICH: Yes... It's a natural product. It um… is formulated. They extract… Scientist actually extract what is needed in order to make it the T-Guard that we have so that you can apply it to the tree to do all those things… The fungicide capability… The insecticide capability… And also the repellency factor too.

TOM: Ya... And that’s important too... Now you have a number of different products that are available and that includes the grow care kits for avocado, blueberry, citrus, mango, peach, tomato and just tropical fruits in general… So. If people don't have a… you know… a mango, blueberry, trees… uhh… whatever… The tropical fruit one will work very well for all the others.

RICH: Yes... Ya like your Barbados cherries... Which is one of the plants I really like… like papayas and things like that…

TOM: Ya... And you have the large kits and the small kits… And then people can get the other products separately like I have the fertilizer… Just great. Actually, I have to tell you… I used the fertilizer for the other plants in my vegetable garden to… And there doing fine. Getting great peppers right now!

RICH: Good. Yes, Ya... You'll get a lot of bloom… A lot of bloom for peppers which means your fruit set… you know… your set there and then your harvest.

TOM: Ya... Now… Tell us where people can get ahold of these products… I mean… We’re talking about them… But it would be nice to know where they can get some of them…

RICH: Well you can get them online, and you can also… One of the big things We've done is really worked to get things out to Home Depot’s here in the state of Florida… And then independent garden centers that are scattered across the state… So… One of the things you can do is go online and there is a store locator that will tell you specifically to your location where you want to get it… Or then you can call us, or email us and well help you find it too.

TOM: Ok... If they want to go up online give us the website…

RICH: The website is growscripts… G-R-O-W-S-C-R-I-P-T-S dot com

TOM: Ok... And they can go up there and order the products, or they can get them from any of the garden centers or other stores that sell gardening type products…  …Just a neat idea!

RICH: Ya... It something that has been in the works for a while. But, I really think it’s something that’s beneficial for everybody across the board…

TOM: Ya... Well rich thanks for being with us this morning… We appreciate it…and… I certainly enjoy your products and have been putting them to work and they’re doing a great job. Like I said. I may be abusing them because Im using them for my other vegetables to besides the tomatoes.

RICH: That’s the best thing you can do… The reason we created them is to do it for everything…

TOM: Very good. Well,... thank you Rich… You have great gardening day… And we appreciate you being with us.

RICH: Thank you Sir.

TOM: There he goes… Right. Now if you want to pick up the products go up online… GrowScripts.com or get them from your garden center and put them to work in your landscape too… I just thing it's a neat idea! A kit and a schedule… That’s what you and I need… We need schedules to do things…

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