615 Growth Performance of Transplanted Young Apple Trees in Relation to Reserve Nitrogen and Carbohydrates

in HortScience

Reserve N and carbohydrate levels of bench-grafted Fuji/M26 plants were altered by fertigation with seven N concentrations from 30 June to 1 Sept. in combination with or without 3% foliar urea application in mid-October. The plants were harvested after natural leaf fall and stored at 2 °C. One set of plants were destructively sampled in January for reserve N and carbohydrates analysis, and the remaining plants were transplanted into a N-free medium in the spring and supplied with or without 5 mM 15N-ammonium nitrate in a Hoagland solution for 60 days after budbreak. Plants fertigated with higher N concentrations had higher reserve N content and lower carbohydrate concentrations. Foliar urea application increased whole plant N content and decreased reserve carbohydrate concentration at each given N concentration used in fertigation. Regardless of N supply in the spring, total new shoot and leaf growth of plants fertigated with N was closely related to the amount of reserve N but not reserve carbohydrates. Plants treated with foliar urea had more new shoot and leaf growth than the fertigated controls. By pooling all the data concerning reserve N used for growth regardless of the spring N supply, a linear relationship was found between the amount of reserve N used for new shoot and leaf growth and the total amount of N. We conclude that the growth of apple nursery plants in the spring is mainly determined by reserve N, not reserve carbohydrates. The amount of reserve N used for new shoot and leaf growth in the spring is dependent on the total amount of reserve and is not affected by the current N supply.

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