Journal Article

Leaf nutrient variation in mature carob (<i>Ceratonia siliqua</i>) trees in response to irrigation and fertilization

P. J. Correia and M. A. Martins-Loução

in Tree Physiology

Volume 17, issue 12, pages 813-819
Published in print December 1997 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online December 1997 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/17.12.813
Leaf nutrient variation in mature carob (Ceratonia siliqua) trees in response to irrigation and fertilization

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Seasonal variations in leaf nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentrations were studied in a mature carob (Ceratonia siliqua L. cv “Mulata”) orchard subjected to a 4-year irrigation and fertilization experiment. Three irrigation regimes (0, 50 and 100%), based on the evaporation values obtained from a class A pan, were tested in combination with two nitrogen (N) supply regimes in which 21 kg ha−1 year−1 (low-N) and 63 kg ha−1 year−1 (high-N) were supplied as ammonium nitrate. Leaf nitrogen concentration increased throughout the experiment, independently of treatments. There were no significant differences in leaf N concentration between trees in the high-N and low-N treatments. Irrigation regimes had no effect on leaf mineral concentration but influenced the amount of leaves shed and slightly modified the pattern of leaf shedding that occurred during the summer drought period. Nutritional balances between N and P and N and K were both closely and significantly correlated. Potassium was translocated from leaves to fruits during spring, independently of treatments. Severe water stress periods occurring during spring or autumn induced shedding of leaves leading to nutrient mobilization. Nutrient retranslocation during these drought periods may represent an adaptive mechanism. Nitrogen retranslocation was higher for trees in the high-N treatments than for trees in the low-N treatments, whereas phosphorus retranslocation was independent of the irrigation and fertilization treatments.

Keywords: absolute shoot growth; leaf fall; nitrogen; N/K ratio; N/P ratio; phosphorus; potassium; retranslocation

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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