ONION GROWTH AND NUTRIENT UPTAKE PATTERNS AS AFFECTED BY NITROGEN RATE AND TIMING OF APPLICATION

in HortScience
Author:
Robert WiedenfeldTexas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Weslaco, TX 78596

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Onion production requires N fertilization, yet use efficiency of applied N is low. Improvements may be possible with a better understanding of plant growth and nutrient requirements over time. Onion growth and nutrient uptake was extremely slow during the winter months following planting, then increased substantially in the spring. Onion leaf N concentrations declined with age, while bulb N concentrations fluctuated with growing conditions but showed no longterm trend. Responses to N application were due primarily to timing and less to rate applied. Nitrogen uptake increased in some cases very quickly following N application, and in other situations was still evident after 6½ months. Yield increases, however, occurred only for preplant and winter fertilizer applications, not for spring application. Yield responses to both timing and rate varied by cultivar, with the later maturing cultivar doing best at the highest rate of preplant and the higher 2 rates of the winter applied N fertilizer.

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