Foliar Urea Application in the Fall Affects Both Nitrogen and Carbon Storage in Young `Concord' Grapevines Grown under a Wide Range of Nitrogen Supply

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

One-year-old `Concord' grapevines (Vitis labruscana Bailey) were fertigated with 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 mm N in a modified Hoagland's solution for 8 weeks during summer. Half of the vines fertigated at each N concentration were sprayed with 3% foliar urea twice in late September while the rest served as controls. Four vines from each treatment combination were destructively sampled during dormancy to determine the levels and forms of N and carbohydrates. Nitrogen fertigation during the summer did not significantly alter vine N concentration whereas foliar urea application in the fall significantly increased vine N concentration. In response to foliar urea application, concentrations of both free amino acid-N and protein-N increased, but the ratio of protein-N to free amino acid-N decreased. Arginine was the most abundant amino acid in free amino acids and proteins, and its concentration was linearly correlated with vine N concentration. Concentrations of total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) decreased slightly in response to N supply from fertigation. Foliar urea application in the fall significantly decreased TNC concentration at each N fertigation level. Starch, glucose, and fructose decreased in response to foliar urea applications, but sucrose concentration remained unaffected. Approximately 60% of the carbon decrease in TNC caused by foliar urea application was recovered in proteins and free amino acids. We conclude that free amino acids account for a larger proportion of the N in vines sprayed with foliar urea compared with the unsprayed vines, but proteins remain as the main form of N storage. In response to foliar urea application, part of the carbon from TNC is incorporated into proteins and free amino acids, leading to a decrease in the carbon stored in TNC and an increase in the carbon stored in proteins and free amino acids.

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