Influence of Nitrogen Application Time on Nitrogen Absorption, Partitioning, and Yield of Pecan

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078
  • | 2 Department of Plant and Soil Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

Nitrogen was applied to mature pecan (Carya illinoinensis Wangenh. C. Koch.) trees annually as a single application at 125 kg·ha-1 N in March or as a split application with 60% (75 kg·ha-1 N) applied in March and the remaining 40% (50 kg·ha-1 N) applied during the first week of October. Nitrogen treatment did not affect yield, and had little effect on the amount of N absorbed. Nitrogen absorption was greater between budbreak and the end of shoot expansion than at other times of the year. Substantial amounts of N were also absorbed between leaf fall and budbreak. Little N was absorbed between the end of shoot expansion and leaf fall, or tree N losses met or exceeded N absorption. Pistillate flowers and fruit accounted for a small portion of the tree's N; ≈0.6% at anthesis and 4% at harvest. The leaves contained ≈25% of the tree's N in May and ≈17% when killed by freezing temperatures in November. Leaves appeared to contribute little to the tree's stored N reserves. Roots ≥1 cm diameter were the largest site of N storage during the winter. Stored N reserves in the perennial parts of the tree averaged 13% of the tree's total N over a three year period. Current year's N absorption was inversely related to the amount of stored N, but was not related to the current or previous year's crop load.

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