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  • Author or Editor: N.H. Willits x
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A study was undertaken to determine the seasonal dynamics of leaf and fruit K content and the influence of tree K status and fruit growth on leaf and fruit K accumulation rates in French prune (Prunus domestics L. cv. d'Agen). Mature trees in a commercial orchard were treated with various rates of K2 SO4. (O to ≈20 kg/tree) in the fall. Fruit dry weight yield per tree at harvest and fruit K content were higher for high-K trees, but fruit percent K (by dry weight) was ≈1.0% for all trees. Leaf scorch and subsequent abscission severely reduced the canopy of K-deficient trees. Significant positive linear relationships between leaf and fruit K accumulation rates existed for the periods of 28 Apr.-28 May (May) and 28 May-7 July (June). A significant negative linear relationship existed between these two criteria from 7 July-3 Aug. (July). May (0.237 mg K per fruit-day) and July (0.267 mg K per fruit-day) mean fruit K accumulation rates were similar, but both were significantly higher (P = 0.001) than those for June (0.140 mg K per fruit-day). Mean leaf K accumulation rates for May (- 0.007 mg K per leaf-day) and July (-0.010 mg K per leaf-day) were similar, but both were significantly (P = 0.001) less than for June (0.005 mg K per leaf-day). Potassium per fruit accumulation was highest in trees with highest K status. Periods of net leaf K efflux and influx did not precisely correlate with fruit growth stages measured by fruit dry weight. The period of lowest fruit K accumulation (28 May-7 July) coincided with the period of maximum dry matter accumulation by the kernel. After 7 July, all increases in fruit dry weight and K content were due to mesocarp growth.

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