Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380042

Research Project: Healthy, Sustainable Pecan Nut Production

Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research

Title: Effects of foliar applications of zinc and nickel nano-fertilizers and zinc and nickel sulfate on pecan plant physiology

item Pisani, Cristina
item ROSSI, LORENZO - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Pecan Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2020
Publication Date: 12/1/2020
Citation: Pisani, C., Rossi, L., Hendrickson, C. 2020. Effects of foliar applications of zinc and nickel nano-fertilizers and zinc and nickel sulfate on pecan plant physiology. Pecan Grower. Vol 32(6):22-35.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Micronutrients, such as nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn), are critical to maximize pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] tree health and play important roles in fruit set and retention, nut yield, and nutmeat quality. A greenhouse study was conducted to gain more knowledge about plant growth, physiology, and micronutrients uptake in pecan plants exposed to foliar applications of conventional fertilizers (ZnSO4, NiSO4) and nano-fertilizers (Zn-NPs, Ni-NPs). Two-year-old pecan plants of cvs. ‘Zinner’ and ‘Byrd’ grafted onto cv. ‘Elliott’ were treated with 5 foliar applications of 25 mg·L-1 ZnSO4·H2O or Zn-NPs, and 10 mg·L-1 NiSO4·6H2O or Ni-NPs and compared to untreated control plants over the course of 69 days. Differences were observed between cultivars and among treatments. Net photosynthetic rate was significantly higher in Ni-NPs fertilized ‘Zinner’ plants. Ni-NPs-treated leaves contained higher amounts of Ni when compared to NiSO4-treated leaves. In addition, chlorophyll contents of Ni-treated plants were higher in control and NiSO4-treated plants of cv. ‘Byrd’. Significant differences in fluorescence data (Fv/Fm ratio) were observed in days after initial treatment for both cultivars and among treatments for ‘Zinner’. Differences for leaf area were observed among the two cultivars of Ni-treated and Zn-treated plants. Overall, Ni-NPs were more easily absorbed into the leaf than traditional Ni fertilizers for both cultivars and Ni-NPs showed a positive impact on gas exchange parameters on ‘Zinner’ plants. Based on these data, nano-fertilizers could potentially replace or supplement traditional salt-based fertilizers and could be beneficial in pecan production systems in developing new orchard management tools.