Minerals from Quality Green Specialists Work Wonders: A Talk on using the best minerals to grow fruiting plants by Quality Green Specialists President Dana Venrick at the Wine & Tapas Festival, an event of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce, held from 6-9 p.m., October 21, 2016. Check all our pages for all the happenings at Quality Green.

“Quality Green Specialists – Our Mission, Our Products & Our Services”

Hello, I’m Dana Venrick, President of Quality Green Specialists, Inc. We are located at 1639 N. Spring Garden Ave (S.R. 15A), 2 miles north of New York Ave. (S.R. 44) at the corner of Green’s Dairy Rd. Our phone number is 386-734-8000.

My business partner Allen Day and I own a Garden Center, Organic Fertilizer Store, and Fruit tree/ Fruiting Plant Nursery at the Spring Garden location. We are active in the community, co-sponsoring the Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival (held the fourth Saturday of March every year in downtown DeLand) and are active members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce.

Our products include many formulations with organic and natural minerals we have developed ourselves.

We make our own high quality organic-based compost, potting soil and high quality organic-based fertilizers with low nitrogen, low or no phosphorus, high potassium & magnesium, other essential minerals (more on this later), and over 70 micronutrients (trace minerals).

We formulate liquid & dry fertilizers for lawns & landscapes and for commercial growers, farmers and ranchers, to include fertilizers for pastures.

My passion is to be a good steward of the land & share with everyone how to grow plants (especially fruit trees & fruiting plants) & turf grass in a sustainable way (that also works exceptionally well) using scientific methods to enhance Mother Nature’s proven way of doing things sustainably. Our methods are similar to the way a forest builds perfect top-soil with readily available minerals that don’t leach and are within desirable ratios so that they are not tied-up in the soil..

You might say we have a “Whole Earth” philosophy guiding our recommendations for growing great greenery and fruiting plants and guiding the development of our nature-based formulations with the best minerals.

We specialize in complete & detailed testing of water, soil, and plant tissue to make it easy to grow the best plants & the most delicious fruits & vegetables by telling you how to best improve any type of soil or growing medium.

We test the soil in two important ways – a standard soil test & a saturated paste extract (to find out what how much of the total minerals in the soil will actually dissolve in the soil water!

We look at the status of all the essential elements and minerals. Very important: We address the two most important elements for plant growth, Carbon C) & Silicon (Si) in all our recommendations and in our fertilizer formulations that others overlook.

Think of this saying I was taught in Chemistry class at UF to remember the most important elements and minerals: C(Si)HOPKNSCaFeMg (Spoken: C Silly Hopkns CaFé – Mighty Good). (Like the mighty good food in the cafés in DeLand.) Plus, of course, all the essential micronutrients besides iron (Fe): manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B). We look at potentially very toxic levels of aluminum (Al), chlorine (Cl), bicarbonates (HCO3), and soluble salts in the soil as well. All essential elements and minerals are included in our recommendations as high-quality bio-available forms, when found deficient from our complete testing. We also tell you how to unlock any minerals that are sequestered (tied-up). Plus, we make the fertilizer blends (dry & liquid) that include all these essential elements and minerals, not just the typical fertilizer elements and minerals N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium), Ca (calcium), Mg (magnesium), S (sulfur), micronutrient Fe (iron), and some of the other essential trace minerals (that unfortunately are often unavailable oxide forms). We use available forms of essential elements and minerals, including very bio-available glucoheptonate chelated micronutrients.

  • Carbon (C), the most important element, as bio-available fulvic acid: We emulate the way it is gradually made by nature – we just make it faster by adding extra oxygen atoms to the humic acid molecules to make a high percentage fulvic acid humate. We include fulvic acid in our fertilizers as well as humic acid which slowly is converted into fulvic acid.
  • Silicon (Si), the second most important element (which is also one of the very essential minerals), as bio-available silicon dioxide from OMRI listed and Florida registered Azomite volcanic pumice which is 65% silicon dioxide (plus a wide range of micronutrients). This is very important because of extreme deficiencies of silicon dioxide in many soils, especially sandy & muck (very high organic matter) soils.
  • Hydrogen (H) & Oxygen (O) – mainly as water from rain & irrigation and from the atmosphere.
  • Plus all the primary & secondary essential fertilizer elements and minerals (N-P-K-Ca-Mg-S), plus all the essential & beneficial micronutrients.

Our fertilizers supply immediate release & long-term sustainable release of Nature’s best forms of available elements and minerals: fulvic acid, silicon dioxide, naturally mined minerals such as potassium magnesium sulfate, botanical based kelp, black-strap molasses, animal-based composted litters, hydrolyzed fish, bone meal, etc.

When needed minerals are applied, based on our complete testing, beneficial microbial life and Cation Exchange Capacity (holding capacity) increases dramatically. The microbes break-down minerals for food (needed energy) and release waste products as positive and negative ions in the soil water that plants actually absorb.

We incorporate over nine kinds of beneficial microbes, such as species of Bacillus & Trichoderma to accelerate & maintain release of minerals from the soil.

In our nursery, we have a beautiful selection of fruit trees, fruiting plants, vegetables, and a select choice of ornamentals grown with our own special potting soil and complete fertilizers. All of our plant growth products include all of the essential elements and minerals.

We have a big selection of Citrus & olive trees. Stone fruits. Persimmons. Mulberries. Guavas. Figs. Avocados. Vegetables.

We now have strawberry plants for the winter & spring.

We have over 70 varieties of fruit trees and fruiting plants in all.

I would like to give you a special invitation to come visit our beautiful Nursery and Garden Center. You will see super nice plants grown without harsh, toxic pesticides and herbicides. We hand weed only – I have done my share – just check my hands!

As you will see – our principles & methods work extraordinarily well.

We are open 8-5 Monday through Saturday. We have the knowledge & experience to help you grow better plants in a more natural, sustainable way.

You have me, Dana, with an M.S. degree, with a major in Botany (Plant Physiology), and minors in Chemistry and Fruit Crops from the University of Florida (UF). My thesis was focused on the selective uptake of minerals by plants. I have been a Vocational Agriculture Teacher, FDACS inspector and Assistant in Plant Pathology, an owner of a Citrus Grove, Ranch and Nursery, a UF/IFAS Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for 10 years, and now President & Co-owner of Quality Green Specialists, Inc. for over 6 years.

We have Vice President & Co-Owner Allen Day, who has specialized in business management and growing vegetables for years. He is an expert on the wise and sustainable use of minerals for growing the best possible crops.

We have Associate Alex Andrews, who is very committed, personable and knowledgeable. He is President of the DeLand Garden Club and does our Green Garden Show with Big John every 3rd Wednesday.

We have Sonya Mayer a very helpful and industrious young lady.

And part time, we have service-minded and very helpful David Wiggins.

We all work as a team to spread the word that you can grow better plants using natural and organic methods – Mother Nature’s Way – without wasteful, easily leached to the groundwater, high analysis chemical fertilizer – not muriate of potash/potassium chloride/KCl (high analysis but only half of the compound is essential, the other half being toxic chlorine), but lower analysis but more usable minerals like naturally mined potassium magnesium sulfate (SPM). LOWER ANALYSIS NATURAL & ORGANIC FERTILIZER MINERALS WORK BETTER & ARE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE FOR LONG TERM HEALTH OF THE PLANET.

For more complete information about our company and proof of how well our recommendations work, be sure to check-out our beautifully updated web-site: qualitygreenspecialists.com

Concerned about HLB (Citrus Greening)? We can help bring your Citrus grove back to a healthy condition with improved fruit quality and higher production even with the disease pressure of Citrus Greening (HLB). Yes, you can reverse declines, promote greater production, higher Brix, more pound solids and increase profitability of your grove. Let us share the success stories of growers we have assisted and our breakthrough products to include energized liquid foliar Citra Thrive Plus 4-10-10 and our energized Root Promoting fertilizer RootPro 3-7-4. We incorporate RootPro 3-7-4 into our fertilizer blends, based on our comprehensive testing that includes a detailed standard soil test, a saturated paste soil report, and tissue analysis. We custom-blend inputs for your grove or groves to ensure positive results. We fortify Citra Thrive Plus with any micronutrient that our comprehensive testing finds to be deficient. We include BioWash in our Citra Thrive Plus, the best penetrant/surfactant to ensure rapid penetration throughout the tree, to include the critically important root system. We include phosphite in our Citra Thrive Plus and granular RootPro fertilizer blends to ensure rapid systemic uptake and disease control. We include nine species of beneficial microorganisms , to include species of Bacillus and Trichoderma, to suppress the Liberobacter bacterium that causes HLB. We include bio-available forms of carbon and silicon in our programs, the two most important elements for Citrus. Carbon: In our Citra Thrive Plus we include humate with over 58% bio-available fulvic acid. Our dry fertilizer blends also include fulvic acid along with humic acid. Silicon: Our dry, granular fertilzer blends include Azomite®, the best OMRI listed volcanic pumice mineralizer, with over 65% bio-available silicon dioxide (unlike sand that is unavailable silicon oxide) and over 70 trace minerals. To ensure sustainability, Azomite (OMRI listed organic volcanic mineralizer) and our other nutritional products have lower amounts of heavy metals than most regular soils. For more details and documentation of our results click on the “Citrus Greening (HLB) Answers” page.

Did you know that one of the secrets (among others we discuss) to produce up to 30% more fruit in an orange grove is to apply boron twice per year? This was discovered all the way back in 1949 in an article published in the proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society. Every year, boron (B) should be included with the first foliar spray of the year. Boron should be sprayed two times per year (but not more than twice because a small excess is toxic), once as a dormant spray before bud break and once post-bloom. Boron is the only essential micro-nutrient that is highly leachable, while at the same time excess is toxic. Excess B prevents chlorophyll synthesis. The excessive boron produces yellowing of leaf tips and margins and eventual leaf death. Leaf symptoms of B deficiency are yellowing along the mid-rib and lateral veins, leaf curling, with leaf defoliation soon following. Thickened, buckled leaves develop slowly and persist for a long time. Fruit symptoms include gumming, lumpiness, and hard, dry fruit. A study,by Paul F. Smith and Walter Reuther (USDA, Orlando) published in the Florida State Horticultural Society in1949, demonstrated that Citrus trees sprayed with boron had 30% more fruit when counted in September (compared with control trees), indicating increased set of fruit or retardation of subsequent fruit drop. Quality Green recommends 2 quarts of KeyBor (boron glucoheptonate) in 100 gallons of water per acre twice per year, once as a dormant spray and once post bloom. When irrigation is adequate, borox (10% boron) at the rate each time of 7.5 pounds per acre twice per year is also adequate (or 3.75 lbs/ac of solubar [20% boron] at the rate of 3.75 lbs/ac each time). Foliar spraying is the preferable method. Do not over-apply!

Symptoms of boron deficiency in Citrus leaves:

Boron toxicity

Here is more recent information on boron, that includes copper and molybdenum, from the University of Florida/IFAS Extension by Mongi Zekri and Thomas A. Obreza:

Micronutrient Deficiencies in Citrus: Boron, Copper, and Molybdenum1

Mongi Zekri and Thomas A. Obreza2

Plant nutrients are classified as macronutrients and micronutrients. “Macronutrient” refers to elements needed in large amounts, and “micronutrient” signifies nutrients that are essential to plants but are needed only in small amounts. The micronutrients are Fe, Zn, Mn, B, Cu, Mo, Cl, and Ni.

When macronutrients are supplied in relatively high proportions compared with micronutrients to stimulate growth of newly planted citrus trees, extreme depletion of micronutrients can develop as a result of marked top growth, and micronutrient deficiencies can appear. Therefore, a balance between macronutrients and micronutrients is needed. Citrus micronutrient deficiencies are most commonly observed on previously uncultivated soils, shallow soils with high water table, extremely sandy areas, and calcareous soils. Since mineral nutrition is a major factor in maximizing yield of high quality fruit, it is essential to understand the functions of mineral elements, diagnose nutrient deficiencies, and provide needed fertilizers in sufficient amounts. This fact sheet describes and discusses deficiencies that occur commonly in the field and the symptoms that can be used as a guide for fertilizer practices.

Boron (B)

Boron deficiency in citrus was first identified in commercial Florida citrus more than 60 years ago. Florida soils are low in native B, and a deficiency of this element occasionally occurs under field conditions. The deficiency may be aggravated by severe drought conditions, heavy lime applications, or irrigation with alkaline water.

Boron deficiency is known as “hard fruit” because the fruit is hard and dry due to lumps in the rind caused by gum impregnations. The chief fruit symptoms include premature shedding of young fruits. Such fruit have brownish discolorations in the white portion of the rind (albedo), described as gum pockets or impregnations of the tissue with gum and unusually thick albedo. Older fruit are undersized, lumpy, and misshapen with an unusually thick albedo containing gum deposits. Seeds fail to develop and gum deposits are common around the axis of the fruit. The first visual symptoms of B deficiency are generally the death of the terminal growing point of the main stem. Further symptoms are a slight thickening of the leaves, a tendency for the leaves to curl downward, and sometimes chlorosis.

Young leaves show small water-soaked spots or flecks that become translucent as the leaves mature. Associated with this symptom is a premature shedding of leaves beginning at the treetop that soon leaves the tree almost completely defoliated. Continuation of the symptom is tree dieback and bushy upright growth similar to that of Zn deficiency. Fruit symptoms are the most constant and reliable tool to diagnose B deficiency.

Borax is commonly used to treat B-deficient citrus. It can be applied either to the foliage or as soil-applied fertilizer. Because of its greater solubility, boric acid might be preferred over borax for foliar spray application. In Florida, foliar spray application is safer and more efficient than soil application. Applying B to the soil can provide unsatisfactory results during dry springs and may result in toxicity problems if applied during the summer rainy season. The spray may be applied either during the dormant period or post-bloom. The applicator should be careful not to apply more than the recommended amount because it is easy to apply an amount that would result in B toxicity.

Copper (Cu)

Copper deficiency is known as “dieback”, “ammoniation”, and “exanthema.” These names are derived from the dying back of the twigs, frequent association with heavy application of N (ammonia) and excrescences on the surface of the twigs and fruit. Excessive applications of N fertilizers have been considered for years as a contributing cause of this problem, giving rise to the term “ammoniation.” The cause might be an excessive N/Cu ratio in the plant. This condition is classified as Cu deficiency as opposed to excessive N, and the term “copper deficiency” is preferred in a practical sense because Cu application solves the problem.

The first symptom is the formation of unusually vigorous large dark green foliage with a “bowing up” of the midrib. The twigs are also unusually vigorous, long, soft, angular, frequently “S” shaped, and somewhat drooping. As the deficiency becomes acute and the twigs start to die, some of the weak twigs will bear very small leaves of yellowish-green color, which drop quickly, leaving the twig denuded. Fruit symptoms are most pronounced on oranges. Brown-stained areas of hardened gum on the rind of the fruit may precede the appearance of leaf and twig symptoms. Fruit splitting is common on the trees showing mild symptoms of Cu deficiency, with a part of the splitting beginning at the blossom end in the usual way but some of it occurring across the axis or around the gummy stained areas. In severe cases, dieback of young twigs occurs and reddish brown droplets of gum cover the twigs. The brown-stained areas on the fruit darken and converge as time progresses and may become almost black by the time the fruit is half grown. Most of this fruit will shed by summer.

Insufficient available Cu in the soil is believed to be the primary cause of the symptoms described. When Cu deficiency is combined with either Zn or Mg deficiency, leaf and twig symptoms may not be noticed due to reduction in growth, but the typical fruit symptoms will still be exhibited. Therefore, fruit symptoms are the most reliable indicator in routine observation. If Cu deficiency is acute enough to cause crop loss, symptoms of Mg deficiency may not be readily apparent. Under such conditions, Cu applications frequently result in heavy cropping followed by acute Mg deficiency.

Copper deficiency is more of a problem on newly planted flatwoods soils than on the deep sandy soils of the central Florida ridge. Foliar sprays or soil applications of Cu fertilizer can prevent or cure Cu deficiency. Spraying a solution containing 2 to 3 lbs per acre of elemental Cu applied during flowering commonly results in near-immediate recovery followed by a normal fruit set. Copper deficiency can be a controlling factor in fruit production, and acute Cu deficiency may put trees entirely out of production. Foliar sprays are useful emergency treatments when symptoms of Cu deficiency are first observed.

Molybdenum (Mo)

In Florida, Mo deficiency in citrus is commonly called “yellow spot.” The deficiency occurs when trees are unable to take up sufficient Mo from an acidic soil. Deficiency symptoms appear on the leaves as large interveinal chlorotic spots in early summer. As the leaves age, the yellow spots develop deposits of brown gum on the lower leaf surfaces, which may eventually turn black. In many cases, an infection of anthracnose causes the areas covered by the spots to die and drop out, leaving small holes in the leaves. When the deficiency is severe, the necrotic yellow spots enlarge and extend to the margins. Affected leaves eventually drop, and trees become almost defoliated during the winter.

Symptoms are seldom observed on fruit except when the deficiency is severe. Under this condition, large irregular brown spots surrounded with yellow discoloration may develop on the fruit. The discoloration goes only into the peel and does not affect the albedo. Symptoms of Mo deficiency appear more commonly on the sunny side of the trees.

Molybdenum deficiency usually occurs in acidic soils. The most common cure is to lime the soil to pH 6.0 – 6.5, after which Mo deficiency often disappears. It is easy to correct Mo deficiency with a sodium molybdate or ammonium molybdate foliar spray. If the spray is applied between summer and early fall, the leaves will re-green and the yellow spots will disappear from the upper surface. Most of the gum will also disappear from the lower surfaces of the leaves. However, black spots consisting primarily of cork cells will remain. One spray is usually sufficient for 3 years or more.



This document is SL 203, one of a series of the Soil and Water Science Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date December 2002. Revised February 2009. Reviewed January 2015. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.


Mongi Zekri, multi-county citrus agent, Hendry County; and Thomas A. Obreza, professor, Soil and Water Science Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

Potassium magnesium sulfate (SPM) and/or magnesium sulfate are excellent fertilizer materials to use during flowering, along with other needed minerals. Many products designed specifically for flowering are loaded with magnesium sulfate. The magnesium helps keep the sugars flowing all the way to the day of harvest, and sulfates are a plus. Sulfate compounds help actuate flowering genes in Citrus (and other plants), contributing to aromas and hastening the ripening process.

Be careful with nitrate fertilizers as a source of nitrogen, because they reduce beneficial soil microorganisms needed for mineralization of fertilizer nutrients and may delay or even prevent flowering. Since about 30% of the energy from photosynthesis is used to assimilate nitrates, energy will be taken away from the flowering process with nitrates. Not only that, nitrates are are not reduced further by microbes, are extremely leachable & move to the ground water, and stay as nitrate contamination of ground water “forever”. If you need to use calcium/magnesium supplements during flowering, limit the use of nitrates. Use sulfates instead.

Muscadine grapes are now ripening in the woods. Yes, we have “big” Muscadine grapes for sale at the nursery.