Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia, Maiden & Betche) orchard management in Hawaii can result in the loss of organic matter and soil degradation. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of macadamia husk mulch, husk mulch combined with biochar, husk mulch combined with effective microorganisms (EM), soil profiling, and wood chip mulch on yield, nut quality, root growth, and SPAD values during a 1-year study of mature macadamia orchards at two locations in Hawaii. A partial cost–benefit analysis was performed to compare the costs and yield benefits of each treatment. Soil profiling resulted in higher yields than any other treatment, at a mean of 86.6 kg wet-in-husk per tree. No treatments significantly affected nut quality or dry kernel weight. Nut quality was affected by harvesting time, with the earliest harvesting (Aug. 2017) period resulting in the highest recovery rate of number 1 grade kernels (33%). SPAD values increased with the husk mulch combined with EM (6.5%) treatment and soil profiling treatment (6.9%). Husk combined with EM caused an 87% increase in total root biomass during the study period due to increased proteoid root biomass. The soil profiling treatment had the second lowest estimated cost per hectare and had the highest estimated partial profit per hectare. Soil profiling is a destructive management practice and should be used judiciously until its long-term effects on orchard health are studied. The inoculation of EM or sugar signaling may have been responsible for the proliferation of proteoid roots with the husk mulch and EM treatment.
Russell Galanti, Alyssa Cho, Amjad Ahmad, and Theodore Radovich
Russell Galanti, Alyssa Cho, Amjad Ahmad, and Javier Mollinedo
Nitrogen (N) management in macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) orchards is an important concern for growers. Leaf tissue analysis is the accepted method for determining N status in macadamia; however, this process is expensive and time-consuming. The chlorophyll meter has been used in other crops to estimate N status in plants through estimation of the amount of chlorophyll in leaf tissue. The use of the chlorophyll meter in two macadamia cultivars (Kakea and Kau) at two locations in Hawai’i (Kapa’au and Pahala) and five time periods (12 Apr. 2017, 13 June 2017, 15 June 2017, 18 Dec. 2017, and 20 Feb. 2018) was assessed. Leaf samples were collected based on a tissue-sampling protocol, chlorophyll meter (SPAD) values were collected, and leaves were analyzed for total N concentration. Data were analyzed statistically using linear regression. Leaf tissue N concentration had a positive monotonic relationship to SPAD values for both macadamia cultivars, both locations, and all sampling periods. The sampling period of Apr. 2017 for ‘Kakea’ macadamia had the greatest R 2 value for the linear regression at 0.85. The Feb. 2018 sampling period had an R 2 value for the linear regression of 0.74. ‘Kau’ macadamia had the greatest R 2 value for the linear regression of 0.24 in the Dec. 2017 sampling period. The slopes of the two macadamia cultivars for June 2017 were different from each other, suggesting that N recommendations need to be customized for specific macadamia cultivars if sampled in summer. The chlorophyll meter can be used for general estimation of tissue N in macadamia. Additional methods need to be considered and researched to refine procedures for direct estimation of total N concentration when using the chlorophyll meter.