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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition

On-line version ISSN 0718-9516


SALGADO, E; LIVELLARA, N  and  PINILLA, J. Programmed fertigation effects on the growth and production of young cherry trees in central Chile. J. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. [online]. 2012, vol.12, n.1, pp.15-22. ISSN 0718-9516.

Nutrient requirements in young trees increase annually during fruit formation. This study was conducted to determine the effect of fertilisation treatments, using fertigation, on the vegetative and reproductive growth of young cherry trees (Prunus avium) cv.'Brooks' grafted onto 'MaxMa 14' rootstocks in Central Chile. The research was conducted at the La Palma Experimental Station in Quillota on 3-yr-old cherry trees spaced at 5 m x 2 m and trained as central leaders with the Solaxe system over the course of two growing seasons. Few of the measured variables were significantly affected by the treatments. The shoot length was affected only after harvest (November), the node number increased with shorter shoots, and the fruit set decreased with no N application. Fertilisation resulted in some negative effects, such as a lower number of nodes (per m-1), decreased fruit set, and increased cracking. Considering the null effect of applying N before harvest and the significant difference in vegetative growth between T100 and T200 after harvest, it appears that there are at least two different strategies for the fertilisation of young cherry trees: fertilisation should start either after harvest or a few weeks earlier with N applications higher than 100 but lower than 200 kg-N ha-1. This amount should be further investigated, and a combined strategy of less than 200 kg-N ha-1 plus accompanying nutrients applied after harvest should be used.

Keywords : young orchards; sweet cherries; fertigation strategy; N response.

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