EFFECTS OF FOLIAR CALCIUM SPRAYS ON ALUMINUM TOXICITY OF PEACH

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375

Peaches are often grown on sandy, low pH soils which may predispose plants to aluminum (Al) toxicity. Previous research has shown that peach (Prunus persica, L. Batsch) is not tolerant to Al and toxicity may be associated with occurence of peach tree short life syndrome. Current recommendations to control PTSL include soil calcium (Ca) applications to reduce soil acidity and Al availability. However, these applications often result in inconsistent responses. Objectives of this study were to determine if Ca would ameliorate the effects of Al toxicity and whether different Ca compounds would provide different responses.

Rootstock were grown in sand culture supplied with Hoagland's solution containing 16.7 mM aluminum Trees received weekly foliar sprays containing 12.5 uM calcium and 0.1% Chevron X-77 as a spreading agent. Calcium compounds tested included calcium chloride, formate, lactate, nitrate, phosphate, and sulfate. Stem dry weights were significantly increased by Ca lactate and sulfate, leaf dry weight by Ca lactate, and Ca formate significantly increased leaf retention. Nutrient concentrations and interactions in leaves, stems, and roots will be discussed.

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