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Victor M. Gallegos-Cedillo, Juan E. Álvaro, Th. Capatos, T. Luan Hachmann, Gilda Carrasco and Miguel Urrestarazu

The effect of pH and silicon (Si) in the nutrient solution on the vegetative development of 2-year-old blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L. cv. Ventura) was studied. Two independent experiments were performed on coir fiber (CF) and sand as substrates. In experiment 1, Si was applied in the nutrient solution at a dose of 0.0, 0.3, 0.6, and 1.2 mm. In experiment 2, plants were treated with nutrient solution at pH 4.00, 4.75, 5.50, and 6.25, using two sources of acidification: nitric acid and citric acid. The parameters of plant growth, foliar surface, and stem biomass were measured. With the application of 1.2 mm Si to CF, plant height registered a significant increase of 8%, and shoot dry and fresh biomass increased by 21% and 25%, respectively. The results of experiment 1 indicated that the application of Si benefits the vegetative growth of blueberry plants in CF, but no effect was observed in the sand substrate. In the results of experiment 2, the pH level of 6.25 in CF decreased the dry weight of stems and leaves by 21% and 18%, respectively. A significant increase in the pH range of 4.00 to 5.50 was recorded in both the citric acid and nitric acid treatments, but these significant effects were not found in sand. Citric acid presented a similar behavior to nitric acid, which indicates that it can be a good source of acidification in organic and ecologically friendly crops.