• Development of Best Management Practices for Fertigation of Young Citrus Trees

      Thompson, Thomas L.; White, Scott A.; Maurer, Michael A.; Wright, Glenn; Kilby, Mike (College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2000-10)
      Microsprinkler irrigation offers excellent flexibility for site-specific management of water and nitrogen inputs for citrus orchards in the southwestern United States. Escalating water costs, declining water availability, and increasing regulation of nitrogen (N) fertilizer use are causing growers to adopt practices to improve water and N use efficiency. 'Newhall' navels on 'Carrizo' rootstock were planted in Jan. 1997 and an experiment was initiated. This experiment was continued during 1999. The objective of the experiment was to develop appropriate management guidelines for N fertigation of 3-4 year old microsprinkler-irrigated navel orange trees. Treatments were factorial combinations of three N rates (0.15, 0.30, 0.45 lb N tree⁻¹ yr⁻¹) and three fertigation frequencies (3x/year, monthly, weekly). An untreated control was included. Trunk diameter was not responsive to N rate or fertigation frequency. Leaf N in all treatments, even controls, remained above the critical level (2.5%). However, at each N rate leaf N was highest with the weekly fertigation frequency. Nitrate analyses of soil samples indicate that nitrate leaching was highest with the highest N rate and 3x/year fertigation. Frequent fertigation is recommended because it results in higher leaf N and less nitrate leaching.