Preplant Monoammonium Phosphate Fertilizer and Compost Affects the Growth of Newly Planted 'Macoun' Apple Trees

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  • 1 Department of Animal and Horticultural Sciences, University of Maine, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, ME 04259
  • 2 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Hudson Valley Laboratory, Cornell University, Highland, NY 12528

'Macoun'/Budagovsky 9 apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) trees were planted in May 1998 in one of four preplant treatments that were soil incorporation of: 1) control, no phosphorus (P); 2) 90 g P per tree; 3) 128 kg compost per tree; and 4) 90 g P and 128 kg compost per tree. Preplant addition of P had no effect on soil organic matter, P, magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca) in the first three seasons after planting, but lowered soil potassium (K) in the second season. Foliar nutrients, tree growth and flowering were also not affected by P. The addition of compost increased soil organic matter and P in the first season after planting, and pH, K, Mg, and Ca in the first three seasons. The addition of compost increased foliar nitrogen and K in all three seasons, and decreased foliar Mg in the first season. Compost incorporation increased shoot length in the first season, trunk cross-sectional area in the first two seasons, tree height and the number of growing points in third season, and flowering in the third and fourth seasons. Compost addition was more effective than P fertilization for increasing tree growth during the establishment years.

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