FERTILIZER EFFECTS ON EARLY GROWTH AND YIELD OF 'HAMLIN' ORANGE TREES

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  • 1 Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, P.O. Drawer 5127, Immokalee, FL 33934

The growth response of newly-planted 'Hamlin' orange (“Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) on Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf.) trees to N-P-K fertilizer rates was studied to determine the minimum fertilizer required to bring trees into maximum early production. The highest fertilizer rate applied was 2.72, 5.45, and 8.17 kg·tree-1 of an 8-1.8-6.6 N-P-K fertilizer in 1989, 1990, and 1991, respectively. Additional fertilizer treatments equalled 50, 25, or 13% of the maximum rate. The response of trunk cross-sectional area, tree canopy volume, and fruit yield to fertilizer rate was described by a linear plateau model. The model predicted a fruit yield of 22.6 kg·tree-1 at the estimated critical rate of 48% of maximum. Fruit yield at 50% of maximum rate averaged 21.2 kg·tree. As fertilizer rate increased, total soluble solids (TSS) in juice and ratio (TSS:acid) decreased, but weight per fruit and TSS per tree increased. A fruit yield above 21 kg·tree-1 from 31-month-old trees was indicative of vigorous growth.

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