Estimation and Significance of Nutrient and Starch Storage Pools in Mature, Alternate-Bearing Pistachio (Pistacia vera. L.) Trees

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Pomology, Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616

The effect of crop load on nutrient and starch storage in mature, alternate-bearing pistachio trees was examined. Tree storage pools were estimated from the differences in nutrient and starch contents of perennial tree parts between dormancy (the period of highest nutrient and starch content) and following spring flush (the period of lowest nutrient and starch content). Following a lightly cropping (off) year, trees contained significantly larger N, P, and K storage pools than following a heavily cropping (on) year. The relative contribution of leaf nutrient resorption to tree nutrient storage pools varied depending on the crop load. Nutrient storage is a function of net leaf nutrient resorption and current uptake from the soil. Leaf nutrient (N, P, and K) resorption was a more significant component of nutrient storage in on-year than off-year trees. The contribution of nutrient storage to shoot (i.e., leaves, fruit, current-year wood) nutrient contents was evaluated following the spring flush (May) and nut fill (September) periods. Nutrient storage pools are an important source of nutrients during the spring flush of growth, but nutrient demands during nut fill are met primarily by current nutrient uptake from the soil. The relationships between nutrient storage and uptake are discussed.

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