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Vladimir Orbovic, John L. Jifon, and James P. Syvertsen

Although urea can be an effective adjuvant to foliar sprays, we examined effects of additional surfactants on urea penetration through leaf cuticles along with the effect of urea with and without surfactants on net gas exchange of leaves of `Marsh' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) trees budded to Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis L. Osbeck × Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf.) rootstock. Various combinations of urea, a nonionic surfactant (X-77), and an organosilicone surfactant (L-77), were applied to grapefruit leaves and also to isolated adaxial cuticles. When compared to X-77, L-77 exhibited superior surfactant features with smaller contact angles of droplets deposited on a teflon slide. Both L-77 and X-77 initially increased penetration rate of urea through cuticles, but the effect of X-77 was sustained for a longer period of time. The total amount of urea which penetrated within a 4-day period, however, was similar after addition of either surfactant. Solutions of either urea, urea + L-77, urea + X-77, or L-77 alone decreased net assimilation of CO2 (ACO2) for 4 to 24 hours after spraying onto grapefruit leaves. A solution of X-77 alone had no effect on ACO2 over the 4-day period. Although reductions in ACO2 were similar following sprays of urea formulated with two different surfactants, the underlying mechanisms may not have been the same. For the urea + X-77 treatment, X-77 increased the inhibitory effects of urea on ACO2 indirectly by increasing penetration of urea into leaves. For the urea + L-77 formulation, effects of L-77 on ACO2 were 2-fold, direct by inhibiting ACO2 and indirect by increasing urea penetration. One hour after application, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of leaf surfaces treated with X-77 revealed that they were heavily coated with the residue of the surfactant, whereas leaves treated with L-77 looked similar to nontreated leaves with no apparent residues on their surfaces. The amount of X-77 residue on the leaves was lower 24 hours after application than after 1 hour as observed by SEM.

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Richard P. Vetanovetz and John C. Peterson

Sphagnum peat was blended with CaCO3 or Ca(OH)2 and incubated for 3 weeks at 20C to achieve a pH of ≈ 4.4, 5.4, 6.2, or 7.3. An unlimed control had an initial pH of 3.5. Urea was added to medium treatments at the rate of 125 μg urea-N/cm3. Samples were incubated at 20 ± 1.0C. Medium pH, urea-N, \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{2}^{-}-\mathrm{N}\) \end{document}, and \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\mathrm{N}\) \end{document} were measured immediately before urea addition (day 0) and 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after urea addition. Medium pH increased when urea was applied for all lime treatments. Medium pH remained at an elevated level, except for the two highest rates of C&CO3, in which pH increased Initially, then decreased. The rate of urea hydrolysis increased as lime rate increased. For both lime sources, urea was completely hydrolyzed within 4 days for the two highest lime rates, except for the highest rate of CaCO3. Nitrite accumulation was evident in the highest lime rate for both lime sources. Nitrate formation was greater with CaCO3 than with Ca(OH)2.

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M. Meheriuk, D.-L. McKenzie, G.H. Neilsen, and J.W. Hall

Four green apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars, `Granny Smith', `Mutsu', `Newtown', and `Shamrock', were subjected to a factorial experiment of two rates of nitrogen fertilization and three concentrations of foliar urea sprays for 4 years. The higher rate of N (160 kg N/ha) had no effect on ground color or fruit quality relative to the lower rate of 80 kg N/ha. Urea sprays enhanced green pigmentation in `Granny Smith' and `Newtown' at harvest and retarded yellowing of fruit in all cultivars during air storage at 0C. Response was similar for urea at 0.5% and 1%, and urea sprays did not adversely affect quality. Urea sprays increased fruit N by 23% and 47% for the 0.5% and 1% concentrations, respectively.

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Anwar G. Ali and Carol J. Lovatt

The objective of this study was to test whether a single winter prebloom foliar application of low-biuret urea would increase the yield of 30-year-old `Washington' navel orange trees [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] on Troyer citrange rootstock [C. sinensis `Washington' × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.]. All trees received a winter (November to January) soil application of urea (0.5 kg N/tree). Trees were maintained under irrigation or irrigation was withheld from 1 Oct. to 1 Mar. To determine the optimal time for foliar urea application, trees in both irrigation main plots received one application of low-biuret urea in mid-November, mid-December, mid-January, or mid-February applied at a rate of 0.16 kg N/tree. There was a set of control trees that only received the soil application of urea. Trees receiving foliar-applied urea in mid-January or mid-February, independent of irrigation treatment, had significantly greater yield and fruit number per tree each year than the control trees for 3 consecutive years. The number of fruit with diameters of 6.1 to 8.0 cm increased significantly as yield increased (r 2 = 0.88). Withholding irrigation from 1 Oct. to 1 Mar. had a negative impact on yield. Annual winter application of low-biuret urea to the foliage did not significantly increase leaf total N at the end of 3 years.

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Franz J. A. Niederholzer and R. Scott Johnson

Urea foliar sprays may be a more efficient and environmentally sound alternative to soil applied fertilizer N in the postharvest period in tree crop production in California. While tree crop sulfur (S) status can interact with tree N status to affect growth, we know of no study assessing tree crop leaf N and S dynamics following fall (postharvest) foliar urea applications. We conducted a field study to measure temporal dynamics of leaf N and leaf S (% dry weight basis) following postharvest urea sprays on prune (Prunusdomestica) and almond (Prunus dulcis). June-budded nursery stock prune (`French' on Myro 29C) and almond (`Price' on Lovell) trees were sprayed to dripping with 6.5% (w/w) and 10% (w/w) standard urea solutions, respectively. Prunes were sprayed on 1 Oct. 2003 and almonds on 18 Nov. 2003. Leaf samples were taken over a 3-week (almond) or 8-week (prune) period, beginning just before treatment. Foliar urea sprays significantly increased prune (23%) and almond (14%) leaf N compared to untreated control within 8 days of application. This affect was transient, as there were no differences in leaf N concentrations between treated and untreated trees at final leaf sampling. Urea sprays did not affect almond leaf S concentration relative to untreated trees. Prune leaf S was significantly reduced compared to untreated trees 8 days after treatment, but only on that sampling date. Remobilization of S from the leaves of control trees of either species was not apparent.

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L. Gene Albrigo and James P. Syvertsen

In order to evaluate possible reduced nitrate leaching while maintaining yield, `Hamlin' orange and `Flame' grapefruit trees on `Carrizo' or `Swingle Citrumelo' rootstocks were grown from planting using only foliar urea or soil-applied nitrate or ammonium N. An intermediate treatment of foliar and ground N was included also. From the 4th year, yields were recorded for 3 years. As previously reported, canopy growth was greater for the foliar urea treatment for the first 3 years. For 2 of the next 3 bearing years, the grapefruit trees in the foliar urea N treatment produced significantly less yield than the soil-applied treatment and the intermediate treatment was intermediate. The orange trees in the foliar urea treatment produced significantly less fruit than the soil N treatment in only 1 of 3 years, but the yields were numerically less every year. Results for fruit quality and nitrate leaching will be reported also. Foliar urea application alone was more costly and less productive than a soil N program.

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Francis Zvomuya and Carl J. Rosen

Field studies were conducted on a Hubbard loamy sand (sandy, mixed, frigid Entic Hapludoll) during 1996 and 1997 at Becker, Minn., to evaluate the effect of a polyolefin-coated urea (POCU) fertilizer (Meister, Chisso Co., Japan) on yield and quality of irrigated `Russet Burbank' potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.). The POCU was a 3:1 mixture of 70-day and 50-day release formulations, respectively, based on historical soil temperatures at the site. The study compared five banded nitrogen (N) rates (110, 155, 200, 245, and 290 kg·ha-1 N) as a split application of urea applied at emergence and hilling, vs. POCU applied at planting. All plants received an additional 30 kg·ha-1 N as monoammonium phosphate band-applied at planting. Yields were higher in 1996 because of cooler temperatures and poor tuber set in 1997. Total and marketable yields averaged, respectively, 3.9 and 3.3 Mg·ha-1 higher with POCU than with urea. Total yield was not affected by rate of N application regardless of source, but marketable yield increased linearly with N rate. The yield of marketable tubers larger than 170 g increased linearly with N rate in both years. Gross return was 10% higher with POCU than with urea, but estimated net return showed a significant sourc × N rate interaction. The net return increased by $3.13 per kg of urea-N applied, but there was no significant change across POCU application rates.

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Daniel C. Bowman and Jack L. Paul

The absorption and assimilation of 15N-labeled urea, (NH4)2 S O4, and KNO applied to the foliage of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) turf were examined under a controlled environment. Each source of N was dissolved in deionized water to a final concentration of 25 g N/liter and spray-applied at a rate of 5 g N/m2. Absorption of the fertilizer-N over 48 hours, as measured by 15N analysis of tissue digests, amounted to 35%, 39%, and 40% for the urea, (NH4)2 S O4, and KNO3, respectively. Absorption was also estimated by a washing procedure that measured the urea remaining on the foliage and by the increase in total N in the ryegrass tissue. There were no significant differences between the three methods for absorption of (NH4) 2SO4 and KNO3. The washing method, however, significantly overestimated absorption of urea. Partitioning of the absorbed N between tissues was similar at 48 hours for all three N sources, averaging 32% in new leaves, 52% in old leaves and shoot tissue, and 16% in the roots. Most of the absorbed urea- and NH4 -N was assimilated by 48 hours, whereas only half of the NO3 -N was reduced during that period.

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Paul K. Murakami and Fred D. Rauch

Three formulations of an encapsulated urea product and one sulfur-coated urea were evaluated at 0 to 4 times the recommended rate on Chomaedorea elegans, Chomaedorea seifrizii, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, Spathiphyllum `Tasson', and Rhapis excelsa against a standard controlled-release fertilizer at equal N rates. Each plant species responded differently to the fertilizer sources. Chomaedorea seifrizii and Spathiphyllum `Tasson' did not exhibit preferences for fertilizer source from top-growth measurements. Chomaedorea elegans, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, and Rhapis excelsa growth measurements indicate that fertilizer source affected growth and quality of the plants. The general recommendation for foliage plant production is an equal ratio of ammoniacal to nitrate nitrogen sources. Economically, this ratio makes the fertilizer more expensive than other traditional fertilizers. The use of a controlled-release urea fertilizer has the benefit of being a cheaper source of N and would lower the cost of production, but results on the selected foliage plants indicate that the fertilizer composition is important in plant production.

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Charles S. Vavrina, Thomas A. Obreza, and John Cornell

`Tropical Quick' Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L., Pekinensis Group) was planted three times at 2-week intervals in Spring 1991 (direct-seeded) and two times in Fall 1991 (transplanted) in double rows on polyethylene-mulched beds to evaluate N source and rates. Calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, urea, urea-ammonium nitrate solution (Uran), and urea-calcium solution (Nitro-Pius) were applied preplant at 67,112, and 157 kg N/ha. The two later spring planting dates, compared with the earliest date, resulted in greater head fresh weights and higher insect damage incidence, but lower tipburn and flowering incidence. The earlier fall planting resulted in greater head fresh weight but a much higher flowering incidence than the later planting. Irrespective of planting date, head fresh weight increased quadratically, and tipburn and flowering incidence decreased linearly with increasing N rate. Although N source affected head fresh weight and tipbum incidence, differences were too small to be of practical value.