Mineral Composition of Young Rabbiteye and Southern Highbush Blueberry Exposed to Salinity and Supplemental Calcium

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133
  • | 2 Texas A & M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, P.O. Drawer E, Overton, TX 75684
  • | 3 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

`Tifblue' and `Brightwell' rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) and `Sharpblue' southern highbush blueberry (primarily V. corymbosum) were treated with 0, 25, and 100 mm Na+ as Na2SO4 or NaCl, and 0, 1, 3, and 10 mm supplemental Ca2+ in sand culture in the greenhouse. For rabbiteye plants salinized with Na2SO4, leaf Na+ concentrations increased 54-fold and the percentage of total plant Na+ found in the leaves increased from 9% to 63% with increasing external Na+. Calcium supplementation reduced the Na+ concentrations in leaves by up to 20%. Leaf Ca2+ concentrations increased with Ca2+ supplementation, but accounted for a decreasing percentage of the total Ca2+ found in the plant, since root Ca2+ concentrations were much higher. Root Na+ concentrations increased with increasing Na+ treatments to a smaller extent than in the leaves and were also reduced by Ca2+ supplements. Potassium concentrations in leaves and roots decreased with increasing Na+ treatment levels, particularly in roots, where K+ concentration was about half at 100 mm Na+ (as Na2SO4.) Leaf Na+ concentrations were up to two times greater when Na was supplied as NaCl compared to Na2SO4. For plants salinized with NaCl, leaf Na+ levels increased to 1.1% and did not decrease when supplemental Ca2+ was applied. Leaf Cl- concentrations also increased greatly with NaCl, reaching >1.0% (dry weight basis.). Root Cl- concentrations also increased with increasing salinity and were not affected by Ca2+ supplements. Ca2+ supplementation led only to a greater Ca2+ concentration in leaves and roots, but this did not alter Na+ concentrations. Nutrient concentrations in `Sharpblue' leaves, stems, and roots were greater than those of the rabbiteye cultivars, but were influenced by salinity and Ca2+ in essentially the same way. Excess Na+, Cl-, or both, together with lowered K+, were likely the cause of extensive leaf necrosis and may be indicative of a lack of a mechanism to control Na+ influx into blueberry leaves.

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