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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #356556

Research Project: Integrated Water and Nutrient Management Systems for Sustainable and High-Quality Production of Temperate Fruit and Nursery Crops

Location: Horticultural Crops Research Unit

Title: Potassium fertigation and organic acids: Improving soil and plant nutrition in highbush blueberry

Author
item Bryla, David
item Orr, Scott
item LEON, DAVID - OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Fluid Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2018
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Citation: Bryla, D.R., Orr, S.T., Leon, D. 2018. Potassium fertigation and organic acids: Improving soil and plant nutrition in highbush blueberry. Fluid Journal. 26(3):8-14.

Interpretive Summary: Fertigation is becoming a common practice in many fruit and vegetable crops, but information on the best fertilizers for this practice is limited. Fertigating with fertilizers containing organic acids or their derivatives was also useful, particularly for increasing availability and retention of K in the soil. However, we found no benefit to date from either K fertigation or granular K on fruit production in two mature blueberry fields. The fertilizers had an immediate effect on pH and availability of K and other nutrients in the soil solution and after two years were beginning to influence the nutrient status of the plants.

Technical Abstract: Fertigation is becoming a common practice in many fruit and vegetable crops, but information on the best fertilizers for this practice is limited. Here, we evaluated the use of potassium (K) for fertigation in highbush blueberry. Potassium is the second most abundant nutrient in the crop after nitrogen (N), and a considerable quantity is removed with the berries during harvest each year.The products tested included water-soluble K sulfate and fluid K thiosulfate, as well as three K products with organic acids. Fluid K thiosulfate appeared to be a good source of K for fertigation in blueberry and could be used with urea on soils with optimum pH (4.5 to 5.5) and with ammonium sulfate on soils with pH > 5.5. Fertigating with fertilizers containing organic acids or their derivatives was also useful, particularly for increasing availability and retention of K in the soil. However, we found no benefit to date from either K fertigation or granular K on fruit production in two mature blueberry fields. The fertilizers had an immediate effect on pH and availability of K and other nutrients in the soil solution and after two years were beginning to influence the nutrient status of the plants.