FATE OF APPLIED NITROGEN FERTILIZER ON OREGON CRANBERRIES.

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  • 1 Department of Soil Science and OSU Extension Service, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR 97331-2213

Little work has been done to establish the rate and timing of nitrogen fertilizer applications to optimize return from fertilizer expenditures and minimize potential for ground and surface water pollution in Oregon cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Predicting cranberry N requirements is difficult because cranberries require little N and soil tests for N are not helpful for perennial crops, especially when grown in shallow sandy soils. We used 15N-labeled ammonium sulfate to measure both plant uptake and movement of fertilizer N in a south coastal Oregon cranberry bed. A bed planted to the Stevens variety was fertilized with 15N-labelled ammonium sulfate at two rates (18 kg/ha and 36 kg/ha) applied at five phonological stages: popcorn, hook, flowering, early bud, and late bud. Plant N uptake and translocation were measured throughout the growing season in uprights, flowers, berries, and roots, Initial results indicate that when N was applied at popcorn stage approximately 12% of the N was present in the above-ground vegetative biomass at harvest. Incorporation of fertilizer N into the duff and mineral soil was measured. An estimate of fertilizer N leaching was made by trapping inorganic N below the root zone using ion exchange resin bags.

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