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- Author or Editor: Luis Eduardo Corrêa Antunes x
The objective of this study was to evaluate the floricane leaf nutrient content, vegetative growth, and yield of two blackberry (Rubus spp.) cultivars (Tupy and Xavante), in response to rate of potassium (K) fertilization (0.0, 2.1, 4.2, 6.2, or 8.3 g/plant of K). The research was conducted in a region of low chill (342 chill hours) in southern Brazil (lat. 31°40′ 46.98 S, long. 52°26′ 4.36 W), and soil with pH 5.9, organic matter (OM) 1.1% and K 58.0 g·m−3. In 2009, only calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) leaf concentration were affected by K application, and leaf K level was considered below normal for blackberry in Brazil. In 2010 and 2011, leaf K of blackberry in Brazil increased linearly in both cultivars with an increase in applied K. However, leaf K of blackberry in Brazil only reached its recommended levels for optimal growth in 2010 with the application of 2.1 and 8.3 g/plant of K for ‘Tupy’ and ‘Xavante’, respectively. In 2011, an antagonistic relationship was seen between leaf nitrogen (N)/K and K/Ca and K/Mg ratios with increasing K rates, where increasing K rates were accompanied by a linear decrease in the N/K ratio and a linear increase in the K/Ca and K/Mg ratios. Micronutrients evaluated showed no significant response to applied rates of K. A decrease in floricane leaf concentration of phosphorus (P), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn) was also observed over years of the study. Potassium fertilization rates influenced the vegetative growth of blackberries. ‘Tupy’ showed increased cane density and pruning weights with increased rates of K application up to 8.3 g/plant, whereas cane density was optimized in ‘Xavante’ at 4.2 g/plant. The fruit yield of ‘Tupy’ and ‘Xavante’ increased linearly with K application per plant in all three years, indicating that K fertilization may be limiting the yield potential of these cultivars. These results suggest that the current K fertilizer recommendations may need to be increased for optimal production in Brazil.