The effects of cover crop, tillage, and N fertilization on yields of `Paladin' watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) were analyzed by determining available soil N levels, foliar N content, and relative greenness with a SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter. Analyses from all three analytical procedures identified N deficiencies in watermelon with their respected measurements. Available soil N analyses indicated that soil N levels below 40 mg·kg–1 at vining caused dramatic decreases in yields, while the level needed to ensure maximal yields during the same period was 100 mg·kg–1. Results from foliar and SPAD tests indicated that plants with foliar N levels below 42 g·kg–1 and SPAD readings below 40 SPAD units at anthesis will have suppressed yields. Optimal foliar N levels and SPAD readings required for maximum yields were 50 g·kg –1 and 48 SPAD units, respectively. The main difference among all three N testing procedures was that available soil N analysis was able to detect possible deficiencies two to three weeks before either the foliar or SPAD analysis. Differences in yield between plants from conventionally tilled plots and no-till plots were not significant. However, inorganic N fertilization significantly increased yields in watermelon following both rye (Secale cereale) and mix cover crop treatments. Watermelon yields of plants following the hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) cover crop treatment showed no response to inorganic N fertilization. Of the three cover crop treatments, the addition of N fertilizer had the most effect in the rye treatment.
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