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Does dual reduction in chemical fertilizer and pesticides improve nutrient loss and tea yield and quality? A pilot study in a green tea garden in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China

  • Shaowen Xie
  • Hanxiao Feng
  • Fen Yang
  • Zhide Zhao
  • Xuedi Hu
  • Chaoyang Wei
  • Tao Liang
  • Haitao Li
  • Yuanbo Geng
Research Article
  • 76 Downloads

Abstract

Tea tree (Camellia sinensis) is a valuable and popular cash crop widely planted in tropical and subtropical areas of China. To increase tea yield and quality, high rates of chemical fertilizer and pesticide application have generally been used; however, increasing usage of fertilizers and pesticides does not always proportionally increase tea yield. Indeed, excessive nutrient inputs may cause serious agricultural non-point source pollution. A pilot study on dual reduction in fertilizers and pesticides was conducted in a green tea plantation in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, to explore the environmental effects of different fertilizer and pesticide managements (e.g., changes in soil properties and nutrient accumulation, nutrient inputs in runoff water) and to reveal the potential effects of the interaction of these two managements on tea yield and quality. Traditional formulas and rates of chemical fertilizers and pesticides were used as the baselines (100% usage); replacement with different proportions of organic fertilizer (i.e., 20%, 50% and 80%) and direct pesticide reductions of 30%, 50%, and 80% were tested. The results showed that proper management with organic fertilizer replacement can effectively mitigate soil acidification and nutrient deficiency in tea plantations, increase soil organic matter (OM) and ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) contents, and promote tea yield and quality. Moreover, managements with organic fertilizer replacement can markedly reduce the inputs of ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), total phosphorus (TP), and total potassium (TK) in runoff water. Soil nutrient accumulation was the highest while the runoff nutrient input was the lowest at 20% organic fertilizer replacement. Experimental spraying of bifenthrin and chlorfenapyr revealed that these pesticides were mainly trapped by the tea leaves and rarely entered the soil or water bodies. Although pesticide reduction treatments can effectively decrease pesticide residues in tea leaves, differences in pesticide residue between various treatments were not obvious due to the rapid degradation of pesticides. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that 50% of the variation in tea yield, bud density, polyphenols, and caffeine can be explained by interactions between fertilizers and pesticides. Combinations of 20% or 50% organic fertilizer replacement and 30% or 50% pesticide application reduction are appropriate for both mitigating nutrient loss and balancing tea yield and quality, especially the combination of 50% organic fertilizer replacement and 50% pesticide reduction, which produced the best results. This study demonstrates the feasibility of dual reductions in fertilizers and pesticides for mitigating environmental hazards while maintaining the yield and quality of tea.

Keywords

Tea Organic fertilizer Pesticide residues Environmental effects 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Dr. Daizhu Lv for her kind help in determining the pesticide residues.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the State Key Research and Development Program of China “Dual reductions of chemical fertilizer and pesticides in tea plantation: evaluation of the environmental effects and modelling optimization” (Grant No. 2016YFD0201208).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaowen Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hanxiao Feng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fen Yang
    • 1
  • Zhide Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xuedi Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chaoyang Wei
    • 1
  • Tao Liang
    • 1
  • Haitao Li
    • 1
  • Yuanbo Geng
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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