Upland and Pima Cotton Response to Soil and Foliar Potassium at Three Arizona Locations
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AbstractDue to a limited information describing the response of cotton (Gossvpium spp.) in Arizona to K fertilization, three studies were conducted in 1992 with the objective of evaluating the response of cotton crop growth and lint yield to soil and/or foliar applications of K fertilizer. The locations of the trials included the Safford Agriculture Center (Pima clay loam), Maricopa Agriculture Center (Casa Grande sandy loam), and a site located near Coolidge, AZ on a Mohall sandy loam soil. All irrigation, pest management, and fertilization inputs (other than K) were provided on an as- needed basis throughout the season. Routine plant measurements and plant mapping analyses were carried out at each location on regular intervals throughout the season. At the Safford location both Upland (G. hirsutum L., var DPL 90) and Pima (G. barbadense L., var S-6) cotton were planted with treatments including soil and foliar K applications imposed in a factorial arrangement. All soil K applications were broadcast and preplant incorporated using K₂SO₄ as the K source at rates of 0, 200, and 400 lbs. K₂O/acre. Four 4.6 lbs K₂O /acre foliar applications of KNO₃ were applied at 1626, 2016, 2326, and 2510 heat units after planting (HUAP). The trial at the Maricopa Agriculture Center included four foliar K applications over the growing season applied to Pima cotton (S-6) at 2427, 2762, 3200, and 3515 HUAP. The six foliar treatments included rates which ranged from 0 to 37 lbs. K₂O /acre using KNO₃ as the K source. Treatments were arranged over the experimental area in a randomized complete block design with five replications. At Coolidge all K treatments were band-applied to the soil at a depth of 8 in. using two shanks per row, preplant. The treatments were 0, 218, 436, and 654 lbs. K₂O /acre using K₂SO₄ as the fertilizer source. Upland cotton (STV KC311) was planted and treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Results from all three trials indicated no differences among any of the treatments (including soil verses foliar and unfertilized treatments). All of the plant measurements taken for all the locations reveal crop growth resulting in excellent fruit retention without vegetative growth (i.e. height-to-node ratios within the long -term 95% confidence intervals for both Upland and Pima cotton. This indicates ample nutrient demand so that if available soil K is inadequate to meet crop needs, deficiency symptoms and reduced yields should occur. No visual deficiency symptoms were detected for any treatment in the experiments (all locations). All plots experienced vigorous and wellbalanced growth and development throughout the growing season. The results of these K fertility experiments supports current University of Arizona recommendations that unless exchangeable K is less than 150 ppm, crop response is not likely, although an exact critical level for exchangeable K is still lacking.