Effect of pH and Silicon in the Fertigation Solution on Vegetative Growth of Blueberry Plants in Organic Agriculture

in HortScience

The effect of pH and silicon (Si) in the nutrient solution on the vegetative development of 2-year-old blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L. cv. Ventura) was studied. Two independent experiments were performed on coir fiber (CF) and sand as substrates. In experiment 1, Si was applied in the nutrient solution at a dose of 0.0, 0.3, 0.6, and 1.2 mm. In experiment 2, plants were treated with nutrient solution at pH 4.00, 4.75, 5.50, and 6.25, using two sources of acidification: nitric acid and citric acid. The parameters of plant growth, foliar surface, and stem biomass were measured. With the application of 1.2 mm Si to CF, plant height registered a significant increase of 8%, and shoot dry and fresh biomass increased by 21% and 25%, respectively. The results of experiment 1 indicated that the application of Si benefits the vegetative growth of blueberry plants in CF, but no effect was observed in the sand substrate. In the results of experiment 2, the pH level of 6.25 in CF decreased the dry weight of stems and leaves by 21% and 18%, respectively. A significant increase in the pH range of 4.00 to 5.50 was recorded in both the citric acid and nitric acid treatments, but these significant effects were not found in sand. Citric acid presented a similar behavior to nitric acid, which indicates that it can be a good source of acidification in organic and ecologically friendly crops.

Contributor Notes

We gratefully acknowledge the support of National Council on Science and Technology Mexican (CONACYT) and Talsa from Grupo Rocio for their financial support for this work.

Corresponding author. E-mail: mgavilan@ual.es.

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    pH and electrical conductivity (EC) of a complete nutrient solution as a function of the dose of nitric or citric acid. Means (n = 4).

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    Growth response of ‘Ventura’ blueberry to an increasing concentration of Si in the nutrient solution. The plants were grown in pots filled with coir or sand.

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    Growth response of ‘Ventura’ blueberry to increasing levels of pH in the nutrient solution. The plants were grown in pots filled with coir or sand, and pH was adjusted using nitric or citric acid.

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