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Bielinski M. Santos and James P. Gilreath

A 2-year field study was conducted in two locations in the Dominican Republic to determine the influence of various support systems and nitrogen fertilization programs on passion fruit (Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa) yield and economic returns. Three trellis systems were used: 1) single line, where a single wire was placed along the planting rows at 2 m high; 2) double lines, where two wires were established along the planting rows at 2 and 1 m high, respectively; and 3) crossed lines, with wires at 2 m high, allowing the vines to grow both along and across the planting rows. Nitrogen (N) fertilization rates were 13, 26, and 52 g/plant of N every 20 days. Plants trained with the single- and double-line support systems combined with 52 g/plant of N had higher marketable yield and had the lowest proportion of non-marketable fruit/plant per year. Partial budget analysis indicated that the single-line support system had a marginal return rate of 36% compared to the double-line support system.

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Bielinski M. Santos

Two field studies were conducted to compare the effects of preplant nitrogen (N) rates and irrigation programs on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) growth and yields. Irrigation programs were seepage (subsurface) irrigation alone at a water volume of 28 acre-inches/acre per season and seepage plus drip irrigation at a volume of 28 and 14 acre-inches/acre per season, respectively. Preplant N fertilization rates were 200, 250, and 300 lb/acre, using ammonium nitrate as the N source. There were significant irrigation program by N rate interactions for nitrate (NO3 ) petiole concentrations at 8 weeks after transplanting (WAT), and yield of extra-large fruit and total marketable fruit, but not for plant height at 5 and 7 WAT. The highest NO3-N petiole concentrations were found in plots treated with 200, 250, and 300 lb/acre for N and seepage plus drip irrigation, and with 300 lb/acre N under seepage irrigation alone. For the total marketable fruit weight, there were no differences among N rates in those plots irrigated with the seepage plus drip combination, ranging between 23.8 and 25.9 tons/acre. However, there was a significant N effect in plots receiving only seepage irrigation with marketable fruit weight almost doubling from 12.0 to 22.7 tons/acre when applying 200 and 300 lb/acre N, respectively. Both irrigation programs had equivalent performance when 300 lb/acre N were applied.

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Haibo Liu and Richard J. Hull

Economic and environmental concerns over nitrogen (N) fertilization of turfgrasses are prompting serious considerations of how to best use various N pools in turf-soil ecosystems. Nitrogen in clippings is receiving special consideration but information on how large and variable this N source might be for different turfgrasses is limited. Therefore, a field study investigated growth of and N recovery in clippings from 10 cultivars each of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) turf at the University of Rhode Island Turfgrass Research Station, Kingston, during 1990 and 1991 growing seasons. All turf had been established in 1985, 1986 or 1987 on an Enfield silt loam (Coarse loamy over sandy skeletal, mixed, mesic, Typic Dystrochrepts) and maintained under N fertilization rate of 147 kg N ha/year. Daily clipping growth rate (DCG), leaf blade N concentration (NC), and daily N recovery rate (DNR) in clippings were compared across species and cultivars. Seasonal clipping yields ranged from 5152 kg dry weight/ha for tall fescue to 3680 kg·ha–1 for perennial ryegrass. Significant species differences in the amount and seasonal pattern of N recovery were identified. Cultivar differences in N recovery were greatest for kentucky bluegrass but much less for perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. Total N recovery in clippings ranged from 260 to 111 kg N/ha/year generally exceeded N supplied as fertilizer, thus emphasizing potential importance of clipping N in turf management.

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N. Tremblay and C. Bélec

The necessity of achieving appropriate nitrogen fertilization of vegetable crops relates to both economical and environmental sustainability. Split nitrogen applications have been shown to improve N-use efficiency, in line with the aforementioned objective and should therefore be encouraged. Given the variation in the amount of N naturally provided to, or uptaken by, the crop, strategies are required to tailor supplementary fertilization to actual crop needs, keeping in mind the absolute requirement for optimal yield in quality and quantity. It is suggested that the fertilization rates applied at sowing or later in the season can be figured in two manners. The first relies on modelling; the second on measurements. The modelling (N budget) approach, mostly linked to initiatives on the European continent, would be most applicable to the determination of the first fertilizer dressing. When a plant stand is established, however, canopy-based measurements made either directly or remotely could be developed to make use of the capability of the plants to integrate the properties of the soil environment and to decide upon further top-dressed applications. For this purpose, a fully fertilized “reference plot” has to be introduced in the field in order to overcome the variability induced by season, site and cultivar. With the emergence of “precision farming” and “remote sensing technologies” it is now possible to adjust fertilizer inputs not only at the field level but also within fields based on actual, localized requirements.

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Sandra B. Wilson and Peter J. Stoffella

Peat is used extensively in the nursery industry as a primary component in commercial “soilless” potting media. The increased use of peat as an organic amendment with superior water-holding capacity is challenged by economic and environmental pressures. Developing inexpensive and nutrient-rich organic media alternatives can potentially reduce fertilization rates, irrigation rates, and ultimately, nursery costs. In addition, controversy over the effects of peat mining has inspired a national search for peat substitutes. With our burgeoning population, it is logical to screen waste products as potential alternatives to peat. Growth of Pachystachys lutea Nees. (Golden Shrimp Plant) transplants was evaluated in media containing 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% compost derived from biosolids and yard trimmings. Compost was amended with a commercial peat- or coir-based media. As compost composition in the peat or coir-based media increased from 0% to 100%, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratios decreased, and media stability, N mobilization, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC) increased. Bulk density, particle density, air-filled porosity, container capacity, and total porosity increased as more compost was added to either peat- or coir-based media. Plants grown in media with high volumes of compost (75 or 100%) had reduced leaf area and reduced shoot and root DW than the controls (no compost). Regardless of percentage of compost composition in either peat or coir-based media, all plants were considered marketable after 8 weeks.

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J. Pablo Morales-Payan

Dominican oregano is a traditional seasoning leaf in Caribbean cuisine. However, little information is available regarding its mineral nutrition when grown as a commercial crop. Field studies were conducted to determine the short-term response of recently transplanted Dominican oregano to N, P, and K in a clay soil. Dominican oregano plants 15 to 20 cm tall were used. A randomized complete-block design with 13 treatments and three replications was utilized. Treatments were 0 fertilization (control) and 20, 40, 60, and 80 kg/ha of N, P2O5, or K2O applied 20 days after transplanting. Experimental units consisted of 12 plants at with a distancing of 1.0 × 1.0 m. Above-ground biomass accumulation was determined 3 months after treatment. Analysis of variance and regression analysis was performed on the resulting data. Biomass accumulation in Dominican oregano was significantly influenced by N, P, and K fertilization rates. Crop yield increased linearly as nutrient rates increased. Nitrogen fertilization had a stronger influence on Dominican oregano biomass accumulation than P and K fertilization. Results indicate that fertilizing Dominican oregano increases its biomass yield. However, due to its seasoning nature, the effect of mineral fertilization on the essential oils of this crop must be analyzed.

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Etaferahu Takele, Jewell L. Meyer, Mary L. Arpaia, David E. Stottlemyer, and Guy W. Witney

The effect of integrated applications of various irrigation and fertilization rates on productivity (yield and size) and returns of the `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) have been analyzed from 1987 to 1991 in western Riverside County. Eighteen treatment combinations comprised of three irrigation levels [80%, 100%, and 120% crop water use (ETc)], three N fertilizer levels (0.16, 0.7, and 1.4 kg/tree per year), and Zn (0 and 0.2 kg/tree per year) were included in the analysis. Using a partial budgeting procedure, returns after costs were calculated for each treatment combination. Costs of treatments, harvesting, hauling, and marketing were subtracted from the value of the crop. The value of the crop was calculated as the sum of crop returns in each size category. Three years of data on the relationship between irrigation and N showed 1) irrigating at 80% ETc would be ineffective even at very high water prices; 2) for groves where 100% ETc is sufficient, its application with either low or medium N would be beneficial; and 3) at higher irrigation (120% ETc), N application should be at or beyond the medium level.

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Matthew W. Kent and David Wm. Reed

Greenhouse cultural methods must change rapidly to minimize runoff and to keep pace with environmental regulation aimed at protecting water resources. Two experiments were designed to investigate the effect of N fertilization rate on New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens ×hawkeri) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum Schott) in an ebb-and-flow subirrigation system. Maximum growth response for impatiens was centered around 8-mM N levels as measured by root and shoot fresh and dry weight, height, leaf number, leaf area, and chlorophyll concentration. For peace lily, growth peaked around 10 mM N. Growing medium was divided into three equal layers: top, middle, and bottom. Root distribution favored the middle and bottom layers, and the relative distribution of roots was consistent as N level increased. Soluble salts remained low in middle and bottom layers at N concentrations below 10 mM, but increased significantly for all soil layers at levels above 10 mM. The top layer contained two to five times higher soluble salt levels than in the middle or bottom layers at all N levels. Increased nitrate concentration mimicked increases in soluble salts, while pH decreased as N concentration increased for both impatiens and peace lily.

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Yan Chen, Donald Merhaut, and J. Ole Becker

Nitrogen (N) fertilization is critical for successful production of cut flowers in a hydroponic system. In this study, two sunflower cultivars: single-stand `Mezzulah' and multi-stand `Golden Cheer' were grown under two N fertilization rates: 50 mg·L-1 and 100 mg·L-1 in a recirculating hydroponic system. At the same time, `Mezzulah' sunflowers were biologically stressed by exposing each plant to 2000 second-stage juveniles of the plant parasitic nematode Meloidogyne incognita, race 1. The experiment was conducted in May and repeated in Sept. 2004, and plant growth and flower quality between control and nematode-infested plants were compared at the two N rates. The two cultivars responded differently to fertilization treatments. With increasing N rate, the dry weight of `Mezzulah' increased, while that of `Golden Cheer' decreased. Flower size and harvest time were significantly different between the two cultivars. However, N had no effect on flower quality and harvest time. Flower quality rating suggests that quality cut stems can be obtained with 50 mg·L-1 N nutrient solution. Nematode egg count suggests that plants in the nematode treatment were successfully infested with Meloidogyne incognita, however, no significant root galling was observed, and plant growth and flower quality were not affected by nematode infestation.

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Richard Smith, Bob Mullen, and Tim Hartz

Pepper stip is a physiological disorder manifested as gray-brown to greenish spots occurring on fruit of bell, pimento, Anaheim, and other types of peppers, most noticeably on red fruit produced under fall conditions. The spots, ≈0.5 cm in diameter, occur singly or in groups; marketability for either fresh market or processing use is severely affected. The factors controlling the occurrence or severity of the disorder are not well understood; to date, control has been achieved primarily by the use of resistant cultivars. In 1995 replicated plots of susceptible (`Yolo Wonder L' and `Grande Rio') and resistant (`Galaxy' and `King Arthur') cultivars were grown in seven commercial fields in central California. `Galaxy' and `King Arthur' were essentially free of symptoms, while `Yolo Wonder L' and `Grande Rio' showed significant damage at all sites, with 23% to 88% of fruits affected at the mature-red stage. Petiole tissue analysis showed that resistant cultivars consistently had lower N and K, and higher Ca concentrations than susceptible cultivars; the same trend was apparent in fruit tissue. Stip was most severe at sites with low soil Ca and/or very high N and K fertilization rates. It is hypothesized that Ca nutrition significantly influences stip expression.