Development of Best Management Practices for Fertigation of Young Citrus Trees, 2002 Report
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Abstract'Newhall' navel oranges on 'Carrizo' rootstock were planted in Mar. 1997 at the Citrus Agricultural Center. The objectives of this experiment were to i) determine the effects of N rate and fertigation frequency for microsprinkler-irrigated navel oranges on tree N status, and crop yield and quality; and ii) develop Best Management Practices which promote optimum tree growth and production while minimizing nitrate leaching. The trees are equipped with a microsprinkler irrigation system. The experiment is a randomized complete block factorial with N rates of 0, 0.15, 0.30, and 0.45 lb N/tree/year, and fertigation frequencies of weekly, monthly, and three times per year. Unfertilized control trees are also included in the experimental design. Each of the ten treatments is replicated five times. The trees were harvested in Jan. 2002. Fruit were processed through an automatic fruit sizer, and fruit from each plot were further evaluated for fruit quality. Leaf N concentration was responsive to N rate, but not to fertigation frequency. Leaf N in all fertilized plots was above tissue critical levels. Fruit yield in fertilized plots was higher than in unfertilized plots, but, in fertilized treatments, there was no significant effect of N rate or fertigation frequency on fruit yield or quality.