Nitrogen Leaching, Water, and Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Citrus Trees Fertilized at Three Rates of Nitrogen

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  • 1 University of Florida, CREC, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, FL 33850.

Effects of nitrogen (N) rate and rootstock on tree growth, fruit yield, evapotranspiration, N uptake, and N leaching were measured over a 2-year period. Four-year-old `Redblush' grapefruit trees on either sour orange (SO), a relatively slow-growing rootstock, or `Volkamer' lemon (VL), a more-vigorous rootstock, were transplanted into 7.9-m3 drainage lysimeter tanks filled with native sand and fertilized at three N rates. N rates averaged from about 14% to 136% of the recommended rate when trees were 5 and 6 years old. More N leached below trees on SO as trees on VL had greater N uptake efficiency. Canopy volume and leaf N concentration increased with N rate, but rootstock had no effect on leaf N. Fruit yield of trees on SO was not affected by N rate, but high N increased water use and yield for larger trees on VL. Canopy growth or yield per volume of water used (water use efficiency) was lowest at low N, but N use efficiency was highest at the low N rates.

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