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C.A. Sanchez, M. Lockhart, and P.S. Porter

Five field experiments were conducted from 1986 through 1988 to evaluate the response of radish (Raphanus sativus L.) to rate and source of P (triple superphosphate and phosphoric acid) and to rate of K (KC1) on Histosols. Marketable radish root yields increased with P fertilization when the soil tested <13 mg P/dm3 using a test for water-soluble P. No significant differences were due to P source. Results of leaf tissue analysis suggested that the critical concentration of P in radish leaves was 0.45%. Radish did not respond to K fertilization in any of the five experiments, even though preliminary soil-test K levels ranged from 20 to 102 K/dm3. Histosols used for crop production in Florida rarely test below 20 mg K/dm3; thus, radish rarely would require supplementary K fertilization for optimal yield.

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N.M. El-Hout, C.A. Sanchez, and S. Swanson

Potassium is often considered the nutrient element most limiting to crop production on organic soils. On Histosols in southern Florida, K2SO4, rather than KCl, is often used for lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) production to minimize the risk of salt injury. However, recent soil-test calibration research suggests that current K fertilizer recommendations for lettuce may be too high. Four field studies were conducted from 1989 to 1991 to evaluate the response of five lettuce types to K rate and source. The five lettuce types evaluated were leaf, bibb, boston, romaine (cos), and crisphead. Two sources of fertilizer K (K2SO4 and KCl) were evaluated at rates ranging from 0 to 600 kg K ha-1. Lettuce showed a minimal or no response to K fertilization. Potassium chloride had detrimental effects on lettuce only when applied at rates in excess of those required for optimal production. These studies showed that K fertilizer recommendations for lettuce produced on Histosols in Florida can be reduced. Furthermore, KCl, a more economical source, is suitable when the K is applied at appropriate rates.

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R.T. Nagata, C.A. Sanchez, and F.J. Coale

Four field experiments were conducted during 1988 to 1990 to evaluate the response to fertilizer P of six crisphead lettuce (Latuca sativa L.) cultivars grown on Histosols. There were season × cultivar interactions for total mass produced, marketable yield, and P uptake by lettuce. A significant yield response to fertilizer P was demonstrated during all four seasons. The performance of individual cultivars within a given season led to cultivar × P rate interactions for marketable yield. However, there were no significant P rate × cultivar interactions for total mass produced, P uptake, and marketable yield during the one season when growing conditions were near ideal. Calculated critical soil-test P values for both eastern and western lettuce types produced in Florida were all within error currently associated with P fertilizer recommendations for lettuce produced in Florida. Therefore, we conclude that no immediate change in P fertilizer recommendations is required for the new western-type lettuce cultivars produced on Histosols in Florida.

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C.A. Sanchez, H.Y. Ozaki, K. Schuler, and M. Lockhart

Experiments were conducted from 1985 to 1989 to evaluate the response of radishes (Raphanus sativus L.) to N fertilization on Histosols. Three of these experiments used 15N-labeled fertilizer to evaluate the recovery of N by radishes. There was no response to N fertilization in seven of the eight experiments, even though some of them were conducted under conditions of high rainfall. The one experiment in which radish yields increased with N was conducted in a poorly drained, waterlogged field that was atypical of normal radish production fields. Recoveries of fertilizer N in the marketable radish roots averaged 19%. The results of N and 15N analysis showed that although fertilizer N was available for uptake, so was an ample amount of soil mineralized N. These results indicate that under typical growing conditions, radishes produced on Florida Histosols do not respond to N fertilization.

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N. M. El-Hout

Band placement has been recognized as an effective strategy for improving P fertilizer-use efficiency on Histosols, which are often characterized as environmentally sensitive wetlands, and for reducing P loading of drainage waters from these soils. Recent studies indicate that crisphead lettuce (Lacruca sativa L.) yields can be optimized with a band-P rate one-third of that required with broadcast applications. However, such findings have not been verified in large production plots. Five field experiments were conducted between 1991 and 1993 to evaluate the response of crisphead lettuce produced commercially on Histosols to band P rates. Liquid P fertilizers were placed in lo-cm-wide strips, 8.5-cm below the seed at planting in rates ranging from 0 to 224 kg P ha-1. Lettuce yields increased significantly with P rate in all experiments. Irrespective of initial soil-test-P index, lettuce yields within each experiment were maximized with a band rate 54% of that required in a broadcast. The pooled data for all experiments showed a similar trend. These findings provided a means of making alternative band fertilizer recommendations by utilizing an existing preplant broadcast soil test.

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L. Espinoza, C.A. Sanchez, and T.J. Schueneman

Four field experiments were conducted during two production seasons to evaluate soil-test P fertilizer recommendations for celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) produced on Histosols, which often are linked hydrologically to environmentally sensitive wetlands, and to evaluate band placement as a strategy for improving P fertilizer-use efficiency in celery in such areas. Phosphorus was applied (broadcast or banded) at 0,50, 100,150, and 200 kg P/ha. Broadcast P was surface-applied and disked into the soil ≈ 15 cm deep 1 day before planting. Banded P was applied 5 cm below the soil surface and 5 cm to the side of each celery row. Total above-ground mass, marketable trimmed yield of celery, and yield of the larger grade sizes increased with P rate in all experiments. Band P placement was not a viable strategy for improving P fertilizer-use efficiency for celery. However, our results indicate that previous soil-test-based P fertilizer recommendations for celery were too high for the cultivars grown currently, and improved P fertilizer-use efficiency can be obtained with revised soil-test calibrations.

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W.G. Harris, M. Chrysostome, T.A. Obreza, and V.D. Nair

exposed limestone. Consequently, the area is dominated by organic soils [Histosols ( Figs. 1 and 2 )] and soils rich in CaCO 3 . There are fairly extensive areas of secondary CaCO 3 , called “marl,” precipitated in shallow water as promoted by

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C.A. Sanchez, A. Faber, and M. Lockhart

Recent research suggests that celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) produced on Florida Histosols does not respond to rates of K fertilizer as high as previously recommended. The soil-test Na levels of Florida Histosols have been increasing as a result of canal dredging which has exposed saline water from shallow aquifers to mixing with surface water used for irrigation. Sand culture and field experiments were conducted to obtain a better understanding of the effect of Na on the K nutritional requirement of celery. The sand culture experiment included factorial combinations of 0, 2, 4, and 8 mM concentrations of K and 0 and 0.5 mM concentrations of Na. The field experiment was a 13 point fractional factorial with K and Na rates ranging from 0 to 400 kg ha-1. The data indicated that Na partially substituted for the K requirement of celery when K was limiting growth and yield. Interestingly, the data also suggested that optimal celery yields were obtained when some Na was present even where K was not limiting.

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Jose Alvarez and C.A. Sanchez

The economics of producing sweet corn (Zea mays L.) and head lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) on Florida Histosols were analyzed with and without P application constraints based upon quadratic response functions derived from two experiments with each crop. At the lower end of the historical price range, production of both crops is unprofitable, especially when P is constrained. At higher prices, net returns for sweet corn under P constraints are relatively small compared with the capital invested; net returns are higher for lettuce. However, an analysis of historical monthly prices showed that those high prices rarely occur. Values for the marginal contribution of the last unit of P show that constraints greatly limit net returns. Many sweet corn and head lettuce producers may be forced out of business if P fertilization rates are arbitrarily lowered below the economic optimal rate.

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Nicolas Tremblay, Marie-Hélène Michaud, René Crête, and André Gosselin

With the increase in popularity of natural medicine there is an ever growing market for the production of medicinal plants. In the last decade, screening trials of a number of species were conducted. The species currently under study are: angelica (Angelica archangelica; biennial, roots harvested), thyme (Thymus vulgaris; perennial, shoot harvested), German chamomilla (Matricaria recutita; annual, flowers harvested), horehound (Marrubium vulgare; perennial, shoot harvested) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale; considered as a biennial, roots harvested). In 1990 the species were grown on three soil types (clay-loam, sandy loam and histosol) with different fertilization and irrigation practices. In 1991 two distinct trials were undertaken. The first considered herbicide efficiency and planting density. The second dealt with «organic» management strategies. Depending on the species, treatments of compost amendment, plastic mulch and implantation techniques were compared.