Banding P to Improve Fertilizer Use Efficiency of Lettuce

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Five field experiments were conducted from 1986 to 1989 to compare broadcast and band P fertilization of crisphead lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) on Histosols. Rates of P were 0, 50, 100, 200, and 300 kg P/ha applied broadcast or banded. Broadcast P was surface-applied and disked into the soil 1 day before bedding and planting. Banded P was placed in strips 8 cm wide, 5 cm below the lettuce seeds at planting. Lettuce yields were significantly(P < 0.01) increased by P rate in all experiments. However, significant rate-by -placement interactions indicated that response of lettuce to P varied by placement. Lettuce yields were generally optimized with a band P rate one-third of that required with broadcast placement. Analysis of soil samples collected in the lettuce bed after fertilization indicated that banded P increased available P in the lettuce root zone compared to broadcast fertilization. Lettuce leaf P concentration increased with P rate and generally was greater when P was banded. The critical concentration of P in lettuce leaf tissue at the six- to eight-leaf stage was 0.37%. Banding P fertilizer did not reduce the availability of other essential nutrients, as indicated by tissue analysis.

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