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  • Author or Editor: G.H. Neilsen x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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In an apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) orchard with a severe replant problem, tree size was increased by the 2nd year and number of fruit by the 3rd year by treating the planting hole soil with formalin or mancozeb plus monoammonium phosphate (MAP) fertilizer. Growth increases were evident each year for 4 years only for the MAP + formalin treatment. In a second orchard, with a less severe replant problem, planting-hole treatment with formalin or dazomet + MAP increased tree size by year 2. Number of fruit in year 2 was increased by formalin and mancozeb + MAP treatments, although this effect persisted in year 3 only for mancozeb + MAP. Leaf P concentrations were increased to high values in the first year by MAP fertilization but declined in subsequent years. Leaf Mn concentration also increased in one orchard, a consequence of fertilizer-induced acidification of planting hole soil and Mn uptake from the fungicide mancozeb. Chemical names used: tetrahydro-3,5-dimethyl-2 H -l,3,5-thiadiazine-2-thione (dazomet); 37% aqueous solution formaldehyde (formalin); Zn, Mn ethylene dithiocarbamate (mancozeb).

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Direct application of fertilizers in irrigation water (fertigation) is an efficient method of supplying nutrients to fruit trees. Information is needed on the relationship between irrigation and N inputs on N availability in order to target nutrient applications to meet plant demands. Soil solution was collected from permanently installed suction lysimeters and NO3-N concentration was measured over the growing season in three experiments: 1) comparison of sprinkler irrigation + broadcast fertilizer with weekly fertigation + daily drip irrigation; 2) comparison of (NH4)2SO4 or Ca(NO3)2 as N sources under daily fertigation; and 3) comparisons of combinations of irrigation applied at either fixed rates or to meet evaporative demand and fertilizer (Ca(NO3)2) applied daily either at fixed rates or to maintain a given concentration in the fertigation solution in two soil types—loamy sand and silt loam. Trials are located in high density apple plantings of either `Gala' or `Empire' apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) on M.9 rootstock. Nitrate-N concentration in the soil solution measured at 30 cm deep remained higher, over more of the growing season, for weekly fertigation + daily drip irrigation than for a single broadcast fertilizer application + sprinkler irrigation. With daily Ca(NO3)2 fertigation, soil solution NO3- N concentrations increased and decreased rapidly with the onset and end of fertigation respectively, remained relatively constant during the intervening period and were directly proportional to either the amount of N or the amount of irrigation water added. Daily fertigation with (NH4)2SO4 resulted in less control of NO3-N availability in the root-zone than with Ca(NO3)2, which may be problematic for precise timing of N nutrition. Except for the fixed irrigation rate applied to the loamy sand soil, soil solution NO3-N concentrations at 30 cm beneath the emitter were similar to average concentrations in the fertigating solution, for all methods of irrigation management in both soil types. Elevated NO3-N concentrations in soil solution below the root zone (75 cm deep) were detected in the loamy sand regardless of methods of N application and irrigation although there was some evidence of less leaching to this depth, under scheduled irrigation. In the silt loam soil, considerably lower concentrations of NO3-N were found beneath the root zone than at 30 cm deep for all of irrigation procedures and frequently there was insufficient water moving to 75 cm to provide sample. Tree growth in the loamy sand was less than in the silt loam soil; was limited by low application of irrigation water in 1992 and 1993; was unaffected by NO3-N concentration in the root zone, indicating that N inputs could be minimized by adding N to maintain concentrations of 75 μg·mL-1 or possibly less. Nitrogen inputs may also be reduced if fertilizer N and irrigation water could be retained within the root zone. For coarse-textured soils this will require precise additions of water and possibly soil amendments to improve water holding capacity.

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A split-plot experimental design was imposed in the year of planting and maintained for the first five growing seasons in a high density apple orchard on M.9 rootstock planted at 1.5 m (within row) × 4 m (between row) in a loamy sand soil susceptible to K deficiency when drip-irrigated. Four N-K fertigation treatments involving low (N1) and high (N2) rates of N combined with 0 (K0) or 15 g K/tree per year (K1) were applied in five replicated and randomized main plot units. Subplots consisted of three-tree plots of each of the apple cultivars Gala, Fuji, Fiesta and Spartan. Soil solution monitoring indicated the maintenance of distinctly different soil solution N and K concentrations in the respective N-K treatments during the study. The most important plant response was prevention of the development of K deficiency by the K1-fertigation treatment. Fertigation of 15 g K/tree generally increased leaf K, fruit K and Mg concentrations, fruit size and yield and fruit titratable acidity and red coloration at harvest for all cultivars. K fertigation also decreased leaf Mg and B concentrations, fruit N, P and Ca concentration and fruit firmness. In addition to leaf K concentrations <1%, K deficiency was associated with fruit K concentrations <100 mg/100 g fresh weight and soil solution K concentration <5 mg·L-1. Increasing the rate of fertigated N when growth was constrained by K deficiency increased leaf N and Mn and decreased leaf P and B, but had no effect on tree vigor or fruit production and quality.

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`Gala' apple (Malus domestica Borkh) on M.26 rootstock was subjected, in the first five growing seasons, to NP-fertigation and a factorial combination of treatments involving method and frequency of irrigation. Two types of emitters (drip or microjet) were used to apply the same quantity of water at high (daily), intermediate (about weekly) and low (about bi-weekly) irrigation frequencies. Although initial tree vigor and yield were higher for drip-fertigated trees, by the end of the study microjet fertigation produced larger trees of similar yield. These microjet fertigated trees had higher leaf P, K and Cu but lower leaf N, Mg, and Mn than drip-fertigated trees. Soil pH and extractable Mg and K concentrations were higher and extractable-P concentrations lower directly beneath microjet-emitters as a result of the larger fertigated soil volume relative to drip-emitters. High frequency irrigation improved tree growth but had less effect on leaf nutrient concentrations or soil chemical changes than lower frequency irrigation. Leaf N concentration was most affected by irrigation frequency, tending to decrease with daily irrigation.

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A study was undertaken to identify key factors associated with storage disorders in three commercially important apple cultivars in British Columbia and to determine how early in the season associations could be measured. Fruit mass, density, and concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and dry matter were determined for `McIntosh', `Spartan', and `Golden Delicious' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh) from ≈30 commercial orchards 9, 6, 3, and 0 weeks before harvest. Storage samples were collected at commercial harvest and evaluated for the development of internal breakdown (`McIntosh' and `Spartan') or bitter pit (`Golden Delicious') after 4 and 6 months of 0 °C air storage. Mass and [Ca] and the mass/[Ca] and [K]/[Ca] ratios were the factors most often significantly correlated with storage disorders within each year for all three cultivars. Correlations were as frequently significant 6 and 3 weeks before harvest as they were at harvest. Mass of `McIntosh' and `Spartan' was the only variable consistently related with breakdown in all 3 years of the study. There were no variables with a consistent relationship to bitter pit in `Golden Delicious'. Fruit [Ca] was associated with the relative levels of disorders within years but could not be associated with specific levels of disorders across all years.

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Abstract

‘Macspur McIntosh’ and ‘Red Chief Delicious’ apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) on M.7a rootstock were subjected to treatments involving all combinations of two types of irrigation water (well-water or municipal effluent) from 1983, the year of planting, through 1987 and three rates of N fertilization (0, 200, 400 g NH4NO3/tree per year), from 1984 through 1987. The zero N treatment was increased to 100 g NH4NO3/tree per year in 1986 due to low vigor of these trees. Effluent irrigation increased leaf N, P, and K concentration in 4 of 5 years for ‘McIntosh’, while leaf N, P, and K increased in 1, 4, and 2 years, respectively, for ‘Delicious’. Effluent irrigation increased trunk diameter increment in all years and fruit number and yield in 1985-86 for both cultivars. No major horticultural limitations to the use of effluent irrigation were observed. Nitrogen fertilization increased leaf N in 3 years for ‘McIntosh’ and 2 years for ‘Delicious’, while leaf P and K were decreased at the highest N rate in 2 years for each cultivar. Nitrogen fertilization did not increase trunk diameter and increased fruit number and yield only in 1986 after 3 years of a zero N treatment. The results implied a role for P in the establishment and early growth and yield of young apple trees.

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Newly planted `Jonagold' and `McIntosh' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) on M.26 fertigated with Ca(N03)2 showed increased early tree vigor and leaf Ca concentration but decreased leaf Mg and Mn compared to trees fertigated with urea or NH4N03. Fertigation with P increased early tree vigor, leaf and fruit P concentration, and decreased leaf Mn in the first year relative to a single planting hole application of granular P. Increased fruit Ca concentration in `Jonagold' in one year was associated with the use of Ca(N03)2 and fertigation of P. Fruit quality was generally unaffected by the experimental treatments.

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