University of Florida

Mongi Zekri - Multi-County Citrus Agent

Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties


B.S. Agriculture, Agronomy Institute of Tunis, 1976.
M.S. Fruit crops (Horticulture), University of Florida, 1984.
Ph.D. Horticulture, University of Florida, 1987.

Academic Specialization

Undergraduate: Agronomy, agricultural engineering, soil science, general horticulture.

Graduate: Horticulture (Fruit crops), plant and stress physiology, soil science, agricultural engineering.

Postgraduate: Citriculture, tropical fruit crops, soils and fertilizers, plant nutrition, irrigation, plant and stress physiology, environmental quality.

Work Experience

January 1998-present

Multi-County Citrus Extension Agent with the University of Florida at the Hendry County Extension Office, LaBelle, Florida.  Duties include: (1) enhancing and developing educational programs for commercial and dooryard producers of citrus (2) working with the citrus advisory committee to identify priority educational needs for Southwest Florida (3) providing basic workshops, field demonstrations, seminars, and educational meetings for commercial and dooryard producers of citrus in Glades, Hendry, Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties on fertilizer, irrigation and pest management as well as farm safety (4) cooperating and participating in programs with State Extension and Research Specialists at the University of Florida.

March 1997-December 1997

Project Manager with the University of Florida at the Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, Florida.  Duties include: (1) managing field demonstrations and research projects on water quality, irrigation, and nutrition of tropical fruit and vegetable crops to extend best management practices to growers in south Florida (2) collaborate with South Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Specific tasks include: (1) establishment, management, and maintenance of irrigation and fertilization experiments and demonstrations (2) data collection from automated soil moisture and weather equipment (3) installation of water monitoring wells and collection and analysis of water samples (4) irrigation monitoring and scheduling (5) collection of crop yield and quality data (5) organizing grower field days.

June 1993-February 1997

Director of Research at Jack M. Berry, Inc. in LaBelle, Florida. Duties included work on: (1) mineral nutrition including foliar feeding, fertigation, and controlled-release fertilizers, correction of micronutrient deficiencies, and adjustment of fertilizer programs (2) plant physiological aspects related to flowering, early bloom, alternate bearing, fruit production and fruit quality (3) improving irrigation management and selecting chemicals and setting up proper timing for pest control (4) evaluating scion-rootstock cultivars and tree density (5) handling leaf and soil samples and studying lab analysis data, writing reports and advising grove managers how to fix problems.

February 1990-May 1993

Research Scientist with the University of Florida at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), Lake Alfred, Florida.  Duties included carrying out principal investigation and conducting independent research on: (1) comparing the effects of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater and well water on tree growth, leaf mineral concentration, fruit quality, and soil mineral status (2) testing the effectiveness of Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu application through fertigation to correct micronutrient deficiency in citrus (3) studying the effects of salt and water stresses on seedling emergence and growth of citrus rootstocks.

December 1987-February 1990

Research Associate with the University of Florida at the Lake Alfred CREC.  Duties included: (1) involvement with Dr. Koo in evaluating controlled release sources of nitrogen and potassium on young citrus trees, investigating the injection of micronutrients (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu) into irrigation water for mature citrus trees, gathering information on the performance of citrus to irrigation with municipal wastewater, studying the effects of salinity on citrus and testing techniques to reduce salt damage, collecting weather data, and teaching graduate students and visiting scientists to conduct experiments, to use equipment, and do chemical analysis (2) involvement with Drs. Koo and Smajstrla in developing and testing an automatic control and monitoring system for applying irrigation and fertilizer to mature citrus trees.

Thesis and Dissertation

M.S. Citrus water relations and growth under different irrigation treatments. 83 pages. University of Florida, Gainesville.

Ph.D.  Effects of NaCl and polyethylene glycol on the water relations, growth, and morphology of citrus rootstock seedlings. 132 pages. University of FL.

Additional Training

  • Familiar with irrigation design and irrigation scheduling methods.
  • Familiar with soil plant water relations instruments.
  • Familiar with methods and equipment for plant, soil, and water analyses.
  • Have a Public pesticide license for the tree crop and aquatic categories.


  • Scholarship for B.S. degree (1972-1976)
  • Scholarship for Intensive English Program (1980)
  • Scholarships for M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (1980-1987)
  • Distinguished Water Conserv II Award (June 1993)
  • Florida State Hort. Soc. President’s Industry Award (November 1997)
  • Florida International Volunteer Corps (2001)
  • Charlotte County Extension Service & Board of County Commissioners (2003)
  • University of Florida Bronze Image Award (2004)
  • University of Florida Silver Image Award (2005)
  • University of Florida Gold Image Award (2004 & 2005)
  • National Association of County Agricultural Agents Communication Award (2004)
  • John and Martha Woeste Professional Development Award (2004)


  • Southwest Florida Research and Education Foundation
  • Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents
  • National Association of County Agricultural Agents
  • Florida State Horticultural Society
  • American Society for Horticultural Science
  • Interamerican Society for Tropical Horticulture
  • Tunisian Scientific Society
  • International Society of Citriculture

International Consulting

Belize, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad, Tunisia.


  • Number of Abstracts and Presentations in Annual Scientific Meetings: > 70
  • Number of Extension Fact Sheets and Magazine Articles:  > 250
  • Number of Publications in National and International Scientific Journals:  > 70