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B.R. Bondada, R Romero-Aranda, J. Syvertsen and L. Albrigo

Foliar applications of urea-nitrogen are widely used to alleviate N deficiencies in citrus; however, improper applications can cause serious foliar burn and loss of active green leaf area. Light (LM), transmission (TEM), and scanning (SEM) electron microscopy were used to characterize anatomical and ultrastructural details of foliar burn in citrus. LM examination of the burned leaf area showed collapsed adaxial and abaxial epidermal cells and plasmolysis of mesophyll cells that created large intercellular spaces. SEM showed wrinkling of both the adaxial and abaxial epidermal cells. TEM revealed cytoplasmic vacuolation, disruption of cellular membrane, degradation of grana, and appearance of large plastoglobuli, implying loss of physiological activity. In contrast, control leaves had turgid adaxial and abaxial epidermal cells and compact mesophyll cells with few intercellular air spaces.

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B.R. Bondada, J.P. Syvertsen and L.G. Albrigo

Foliar-applied urea nitrogen (N) has potential to become an important component in fertilizer programs for citrus in Florida and other citrus growing areas as it can reduce nitrate leaching into ground water. We evaluated seasonal absorption characteristics of three urea formulations, Triazone-urea, liquid urea, and spray grade urea by citrus leaves that were from 2 weeks to 6 months old. The effect of leaf age on 15N absorption by N-deficient and N-sufficient leaves, together with urea absorption over an eight-week period were studied using greenhouse-grown and field-grown plants. All foliar N applications were based on a recommended rate of 34 kg N/ha in 469 L of water. In the field studies, leaf N was increased similarly by the three urea formulations one week after three weekly applications. Young leaves (0.25 month and 1 month old) absorbed a greater percentage of N than the older leaves (3 month and 6 month old). Epicuticular wax concentration increased and 15N absorption declined with leaf age. Nitrogen deficient leaves (1.80% N) had greater wax concentration and lower N absorption than N sufficient leaves (2.60% N). Four to 8 weeks after urea applications, Triazone-urea sprayed leaves had significantly greater leaf N concentration than leaves sprayed with liquid urea or nonsprayed control leaves. The greenhouse studies revealed that the 15N absorption was greater through abaxial leaf surfaces than through adaxial surfaces regardless of leaf N level and application time. Applying foliar 15N-urea during night (2000 hr to 2200 hr) resulted in greater absorption of 15N than in the morning (0800 hr to 1000 hr) or afternoon (1200 hr to 1400 hr). It is clear that maximum N absorption from foliar urea sprays occurred at night through the abaxial surfaces of young leaves with sufficient N. Triazone-urea acted as a slow-release N source that could be exploited in supplying N over an extended period of time.

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B.R. Bondada, C.E. Sams and D.E Deyton

Oil sprays increase the phytotoxicity of captan to apple foliage. The purpose of this study was to determine if oils increase the penetration of captan through leaf cuticles. Enzymatically isolated apple leaf cuticles were used as a model system to study captan penetration. A bioassay was developed using the inhibition of growth of Penicillium cyclopium on potato-dextrose agar as a measure of captan penetration through the cuticle. Captan penetrated through both surfaces, but significantly more penetrated through the abaxial cuticles than the adaxial cuticles. Increasing the captan concentration increased the captan penetration through the abaxial cuticle in a linear relationship. Captan penetration through the cuticle was increased by 63% when cuticles were treated with captan plus 1% emulsified soybean oil. Abaxial cuticles treated with captan plus emulsified soybean oil or with captan plus SunSpray Ultra-Fine oil had >125% greater captan penetration than cuticles treated with only captan. Cuticles treated with captan plus dormant oil (petroleum oil) had 220% more captan penetration than the captan only treatment.

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B.R. Bondada, J.P. Syvertsen, L. Albrigo, A. Alva and P. Petracek

Foliar applications of urea nitrogen (N) is a relatively new practice in Florida citrus production resulting from applied research and changes in citrus fertilizer management philosophy. The present study investigated the effect of leaf age and surface morphology on leaf wettability as measured by contact angles, and absorption efficiency of foliar-applied N. Young leaves (0.25 and 1 month) were more efficient than old leaves in the absorption of foliar-applied N. Contact angles of water, urea-, and triazone-N solutions were low in the young leaves. The adaxial surfaces had lower contact angles than abaxial surfaces in each leaf age group. Inefficient N absorption and large contact angles in old leaves (3 and 6 months) were related to surface wax deposition and cuticle thickness, which increased with leaf age. 15N- and 14C-labeled urea are being used to determine precisely how the cuticle and wax affect foliar N absorption in citrus leaves.

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B.R. Bondada, C.E. Sams, D.E. Deyton and J.C. Cummins

Environmental factors such as rainfall may reduce the efficacy of foliar-applied soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] oil in reducing pest mortality. Greenhouse studies were conducted to investigate the influence of rain on the retention of soybean oil and the influence of soybean oil and rainfall on surface morphology of apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] and peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group)] leaves and stems. `Contender' peach and `Golden Delicious'/Malling 27 apple trees were grown in 19 L pots in a greenhouse (23 ± 9 °C) and sprayed with soybean oil (1%) emulsified with the adjuvants Latron B-1956 or K1. Twenty-four hours after treatment, the trees were subjected to simulated rainfall of 0.0, 0.25, 1.25, or 2.54 cm. A negative linear relationship existed between rainfall and oil retention. Peach leaves receiving 0.25, 1.25, and 2.54 cm rainfall retained 81%, 38%, and 18% of the applied oil, respectively. Oil retention by apple leaves was also negatively related to rainfall. For both species, a negative linear relationship existed between oil retention on stems and rainfall. There was no effect of emulsifier on retention of 1% soybean oil after rain on apple leaves or on the retention of 8% to 11% soybean oil on the stems of apple and peach. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that epicuticular wax occurred as striations on apple and peach leaves. The wax morphology on peach and apple stems appeared as thin plates and platelets, respectively. The wax morphology of leaves and stems of both trees was not affected either by the soybean oil emulsions or rain. Both emulsions induced stomatal closure in leaves and peach stems, however, stomates opened after rainfall of 1.25 or 2.54 cm. The lenticels appeared to be unaffected by either emulsion. Results illustrate that rainfall of 2.54 cm washed off a major portion of the applied oil. Thus, respraying may be needed under natural climatic conditions with rainfall ≥2.54 cm to restore the efficacy of applied soybean oil.