1026 BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE FOR NITROGEN FERTILIZATION OF FLORIDA CITRUS IN DEEP SAND

in HortScience
Author: A.K. Alva1
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  • 1 Univ. of Fla., IFAS, Citrus Res. & Edu. Ctr., 700 Expt. Sta. Rd., Lake Alfred. FL 33850

Nitrate pollution of surfacial aquifer is fairly widespread in deep sandy soil areas of Central Florida. Since citrus is a predominant crop in this area, despite lack of conclusive evidence suggesting citrus fertilization as the source of nitrate pollution, investigations are in progress to develop Best Management Practice (BMP) recommendations for N fertilization of citrus in an effort to improve N use by the trees and to minimize potential nitrate leaching. Our ongoing studies on both young and mature trees have demonstrated that the use of improved fertilizer formulations and programmed application schedules have facilitated to decrease the rate of N application considerably without any adverse impact on tree growth and/or fruit production while minimizing nitrate leaching below the rootzone. Our approach involves developing BMP recommendations on the basis of iudicious irrigation management and generating database on N removal by the fruits, annual N contribution to the trees by mineralization of organic N, and N losses including leaching, denitrification, etc.