It has been shown that perennial woody plants exhibit marked seasonal changes in nutrient content, carbon metabolism, and organ development. A knowledge of seasonal nutrient allocation and temporal accumulation patterns can be useful in the development of fertilization regimes that reflect the biology of a tree crop. Maintenance of optimum leaf nutrient status is an important priority in pecan cultural practice. However, a systematic evaluation of nutrient resorption is lacking in pecan. In this work, seasonal changes in nutrients and carbohydrates were evaluated in pecan trees grown under orchard conditions. In addition, resorption efficiencies of eight pecan cultivars were evaluated. Significant levels of resorption were observed in all essential elements, but cultivar differences were not significant. Seasonal patterns of nutrient and carbohydrate content in leaf, stem, and shoot tissue, will be presented as well as a structural evaluation of abscission zone formation.
Zinc deficiency is a nutrient disorder that is observed in pecan production areas. In the field it is characterized by a rosette shoot habit and interveinal leaf chlorosis. Up to now, the induction of zinc deficiency has not been accomplishable in the field or greenhouse. Thus any critical evaluations of effects of zinc nutrition on tree growth and development have been lacking. A hydroponic culture system was developed where zinc deficiency was induced. Seedstocks collected from `Stuart', `Curtis', and `Wichita' trees were grown with and without zinc supply. Biomass, leaf area, node number, and visual symptoms were assessed. Foliar deficiency symptoms were rated 4 and structural evaluations were conducted using light and electron microscopy. Significant differences in visual symptoms were observed between treatments and among cultivars. Leaf area significantly decreased in `Stuart' and `Curtis' under zinc deficient conditions. Zinc had no significant effect on biomass and internodal length. Foliar nutrient contents were compared between cultivars. Our data suggest that genotypic differences in sensitivity to zinc deficiency exists and improving pecan production through genetic selection for zinc efficiency appears promising.
As a plant nutrient, nitrogen is the element in highest demand in terms of quantity and makes up about 2% to 3% of plant dry matter. In this study, we evaluated the effect of nitrogen source on plant growth and nutrient uptake in pecan (Carya illinoensis). Seedlings were hydroponically grown under three nitrogen nutrient regimes where the ratio of nitrate: ammonium was varied, i.e., 3:1, 1:1, and 1:3. High ammonium nutrition had an inhibiting effect on seedling growth. Plants grown under 1:3 (nitrate: ammonium) exhibited significantly lower biomass, decreased root/shoot ratio, and lower specific leaf weight than other treatments. Total nitrogen uptake on a dry weight basis was highest in the high ammonium treatment. In the equal molar treatment (1:1 nitrate: ammonium), plants exhibited preferential uptake of ammonium-form nitrogen. Ammonium-form nitrogen is generally used in pecan orchard practice. Our data suggest that further studies evaluating the effects of nitrogen source are warranted to determine if similar detrimental effects on pecan growth occur in the field. Such studies would be useful for optimizing current fertilization practices.