Early Response of High-density Peaches in Sod to Different Irrigation and Fertilizer Treatments

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  • 1 1Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Harrow, ON N0R 1G0, Canada
  • | 2 2Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, Horticultural Research Inst. of Ontario, Vineland Station, ON L0R 2E0, Canada.

Seven high-density (606 trees/ha) management systems for peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Harrow Beauty/Bailey] were compared on Fox sand in southwestern Ontario. Each system had an irrigation component (N = none D = drip, M = microsprinkler) and a fertilizer placement component (B = banded, L= low-rate fertigation, H = high rate fertigation). NB (nonirrigated, banded fertilizer) and DB (drip-irrigated) are commonly used systems in Ontario, while the other five treatment combinations were experimental. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) was generally greatest for DH and DB systems, smallest for ML and NB systems, and intermediate for the other three. No symptoms of N or K deficiency or excess were noted for any of the fertilizer treatments. The seven management systems each had similar cumulative yield efficiencies for the first 4 cropping years However, total marketable yields for the 4 years were highest for MB (58.7 t·ha–1), followed in descending order by DB (56.8 t·ha–1), DH (56.6 t·ha–1), MH (53.9 t·ha–1), DL (50.6 t·ha–1), ML (49.8 t·ha–1), and NB (47.5 t·ha–1). Each of the irrigated treatments outyielded the nonirrigated check (NB) and ranged from 4.8% to 23.6%. Only one of the irrigated treatments (MB) outyielded the irrigated check (DB), and by only 3.3%. There was no clear advantage for either the drip or microsprinkler system of irrigation. Banded application of N and K appeared to promote higher yields than by fertigation equivalent to the banded rate, while yields at the low rate of fertigation were lower than for either the high rate of fertigation or the banded application. It appeared that banded fertilizer combined with either microsprinkler (MB) or drip irrigation DB provided the most-effective of the management systems in the first 4 cropping years.

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