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John D. Lea-Cox and James P. Syvertsen

We examined how N supply affected plant growth and N uptake, allocation and leaching losses from a fine sandy soil with four Citrus rootstock species. Seedlings of `Cleopatra' mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and `Swingle' citrumelo (C. paradisi × P. trifoliata) were grown in a glasshouse in 2.3-liter pots of Candler fine sand and fertilized weekly with a complete nutrient solution containing 200 mg N/liter (20 mg N/week). A single application of 15NH4 15NO3(17.8% atom excess 15N) was substituted for a normal weekly N application when the seedlings were 22 weeks old (day O). Six replicate plants of each species were harvested at 0.5, 1.5, 3.5, 7, 11, and 30 days after 15N application. In a second experiment, NH4 NO3 was supplied at 18,53, and 105 mg N/week to 14-week-old `Volkamer' lemon (C. volkameriana Ten. & Pasq.) and sour orange (C. aurantium L.) seedlings in a complete nutrient solution for 8 weeks. A single application of 15NH4 15NO3 (23.0% 15N) was substituted at 22 weeks (day 0), as in the first experiment, and seedlings harvested 3,7, and 31 days after 15N application. Nitrogen uptake and partitioning were similar among species within each rate, but were strongly influenced by total N supply and the N demand by new growth. There was no 15N retranslocation to new tissue at the highest (105 mg N/week) rate, but N supplies below this rate limited plant growth without short-term 15N reallocation from other tissues. Leaf N concentration increased linearly with N supply up to the highest rate, while leaf chlorophyll concentration did not increase above that at 53 mg N/week. Photosynthetic CO2 assimilation was not limited by N in this study; leaf N concentration exceeded 100 mmol·m-2 in all treatments. Thus, differences in net productivity at the higher N rates appeared to be a function of increased leaf area, but not of leaf N concentration. Hence, N use efficiency decreased significantly over the range of N supply, whether expressed either on a gas-exchange or dry weight basis. Mean plant 15N uptake efficiencies after 31 days decreased from 60% to 47% of the 15N applied at the 18,20, and 53 mg N/week rates to less than 33% at the 105 mg N/week rate. Leaching losses increased with N rate, with plant growth rates and the subsequent N requirements of these Citrus species interacting with residual soil N and potential leaching loss.

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Xiaojie Zhao, Guihong Bi, Richard L. Harkess, Jac J. Varco, and Eugene K. Blythe

This study investigated how spring nitrogen (N) application affects N uptake and growth performance in tall bearded (TB) iris ‘Immortality’ (Iris germanica L.). Container-grown iris plants were treated with 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 mm N from 15NH4 15NO3 through fertigation using a modified Hoagland’s solution twice a week for 6 weeks in Spring 2013. Increasing N rate increased plant height, total plant dry weight (DW), and N content. Total N content was closely related to total plant DW. The allocation of N to different tissues followed a similar trend as the allocation of DW. In leaves, roots, and rhizomes, increasing N rate increased N uptake and decreased carbon (C) to N ratio (C/N ratio). Leaves were the major sink for N derived from fertilizer (NDFF). As N supply increased, DW accumulation in leaves increased, whereas DW accumulation in roots and rhizomes was unchanged. This indicates increasing N rate contributed more to leaf growth in spring. Nitrogen uptake efficiency (NupE) had a quadratic relationship with increasing N rate and was highest in the 10 mm N treatment, which indicates 10 mm was the optimal N rate for improving NupE in this study.

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John D. Lea-Cox, James P. Syvertsen, and Donald A. Graetz

15Nitrogen uptake, allocation, and leaching losses from soil were quantified during spring, for 4-year-old bearing `Redblush' grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi Macf.) trees on rootstocks that impart contrasting growth rates. Nine trees on either the fast-growing `Volkamer' lemon (VL) (C. volkameriana Ten & Pasq.) or nine on the slower-growing sour orange (SO) (C. aurantium L.) rootstocks were established in drainage lysimeters filled with Candler fine sand and fertilized with 30 split applications of N, totaling 76, 140, or 336 g·year-1 per tree. A single application of double-labeled ammonium nitrate (15NH 15 4NO3, 20% enriched) was applied at each rate to replicate trees, in late April. Leaves, fibrous roots, soil, and leachates were intensively sampled from each treatment over the next 29 days, to determine the fate of the 15NH 15 4NO3 application. Newly developing spring leaves and fruit formed dominant competitive sinks for 15N, accounting for between 40% and 70% of the total 15N taken up by the various treatments. Large fruit loads intercepted up to 20% of this 15N, at the expense of spring flush development, to the detriment of overall tree N status in low-N trees. Nitrogen supply at less than the currently recommended yearly rate of 380 g/tree exceeded the requirements of 4-year-old grapefruit trees on SO rootstock; however, larger trees on VL rootstock took up the majority of 15N from this rate over the 29-day period. Nitrogen-use efficiency declined with increasing N rate, irrespective of rootstock. The residual amounts of 15N remaining in the soil profile under SO trees after this time represented a significant N leaching potential from these sandy soils. Therefore, under these conditions, present N recommendations appear adequate for rootstocks that impart relatively fast growth rates to Citrus trees, but seem excessive for trees on slower-growing rootstock species.

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B.E. Maust and J.G. Williamson

Experiments were conducted with `Hamlin' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] budded on Cleopatra mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) or Carrizo citrange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] seedling rootstocks to determine minimum container solution N concentrations required for optimum growth and fertilizer uptake efficiency at various growth stages. Plants were fertigated daily with 1 liter of N solution at either 0, 12.5, 25, 50, 100, or 200 mg·liter-1 from NH4NO3 or 0, 3.13, 6.25, 12.5, 25, or 50 mg·liter-1 from NH4NO3 dissolved in a complete nutrient solution, respectively. Percentage of N in the mature plant tissues increased as N concentration in the medium solution increased. Shoot length and leaf area increased as N concentrations increased up to a critical concentration of 15 to 19 mg·liter-1. The critical N concentration for root, shoot, and total plant dry weight was ≈18 mg·liter-1 for `Hamlin'-Cleopatra mandarin nursery plants and 15 mg·liter-1 for `Hamlin'-Carrizo nursery plants. The critical N concentration for relative total plant dry weight accumulation (percentage) for the two experiments was 16.8 mg·liter-1. In a separate experiment, plants were given labeled fertilizer N (FN) (15NH4 15NO3) at one of five growth stages: A) in the middle of rapid shoot extension of the third flush, B) immediately following the cessation of the third flush shoot extension but during leaf expansion, C) immediately following leaf expansion, D) before the fourth flush, or E) in the middle of rapid shoot extension of the fourth flush. Labeled FN recovery increased during rapid shoot extension of the fourth scion flush compared to the other labeling periods. FN uptake per gram of total plant dry weight was greatest during rapid shoot extension (A and E) and lowest during the intermediate labeling periods (B-D). FN supplied 21% to 22% of the N required for new growth during rapid shoot extension.

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Xiaojie Zhao, Guihong Bi, Richard L. Harkess, Jac J. Varco, Tongyin Li, and Eugene K. Blythe

Tall bearded (TB) iris (Iris germanica L.) has great potential as a specialty cut flower due to its fragrance and showy, multicolor display; however, limited research has been reported on optimal nitrogen (N) nutrient management for TB iris. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of N fertilizer rate on plant growth and flowering of ‘Immortality’ iris and determine the influence of both stored N and spring-applied N fertilizer on spring growth and flowering. On 14 Mar. 2012, rhizomes of ‘Immortality’ iris were potted in a commercial substrate with no starter fertilizer. Plants were fertigated with 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 mm N from NH4NO3 twice per week from 28 Mar. to 28 Sept. 2012. In 2013, half of the plants from each of the 2012 N rate were supplied with either 0 or 10 mm N from 15NH4 15NO3 twice per week from 25 Mar. to 7 May 2013. Growth and flowering data including plant height, leaf SPAD, number of fans and inflorescence stems, and length of inflorescence stem were collected during the growing season. Plants were harvested in Dec. 2012 and May 2013 to measure dry weight and N concentration in leaves, roots, and rhizomes. Results showed higher 2012 N rates increased plant height, leaf SPAD reading, and number of inflorescence stems at first and second blooming in 2012. Greater 2012 N rates also increased plant dry weight and N content in all structures, and N concentration in roots and rhizomes. Rhizomes (58.8% to 66.3% of total N) were the dominant sink for N in Dec. 2012. Higher 2012 N rates increased plant height, number of fans, and the number of inflorescence stems at spring bloom in 2013. In May 2013, N in leaf tissue constituted the majority (51% to 64.3%) of the total plant N. Higher 2012 N rates increased total dry weight, N concentration, and N content in all 2013 15N rates; however, leaf dry weight in all plants was improved by 2013 15N rate. Percentage of tissue N derived from 2013 15N (NDFF) decreased with increasing 2012 N rate. New spring leaves were the dominant sink (56.8% to 72.2%) for 2013 applied 15N. In summary, ‘Immortality’ iris is capable of a second blooming in a growing season, this second blooming dependent on N fertilization rate in current year. A relatively high N rate is recommended to produce a second bloom.