Chestnut Response to Organo-mineral and Controlled-Release Fertilizers in Rainfed Growing Conditions
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In the context of climate change, chestnut fertilization is receiving great attention in the Mediterranean basin, due to the increase in the unpredictability of the pluviometric regime which makes it difficult to determine the optimal timing of fertilizer applications. The purpose of this work was to assess the suitability of fertilizers with mechanisms for nutrient protection on the increase of tree nutritional status and crop productivity. Four fertilizers with restricted nutrient solubility were tested: Bioscape 5:14:7 (32.8% organic matter (OM)); Humix 13:3:5 (80.1% OM); Exactyon AG 6:15:8 (37.7% N and 33.1% P encapsulated); and Exactyon AG 18:5:13 (47% N encapsulated, 28.8% N as urea coated with ammonium sulfate). The trials were carried out for four years in Moimenta and Meixedo, NE Portugal, which also received a non-fertilized control. In Moimenta the ground was managed by tillage and in Meixedo by a cover of natural vegetation. Exactyon AG 18:5:13, being the most concentrated in N and B, gave significantly higher cumulative (2015–2018) nut yields (146.6 kg tree−1) than the control (52.3 kg tree−1) in the Moimenta trial. The results were explained by the increase in leaf N and B levels, which in the control treatment were in the deficiency range. In Meixedo there were not found significant differences among treatments, likely due to the competition by cover crop for resources. The results showed that the response of the trees to the fertilizers relied mainly in their content in nutrients limiting to the agroecosystem and less in the mechanisms of nutrient protection.
KeywordsCastanea sativa Nut yield Crop removal Crop nutritional status Fertilizers
This study received financial support from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) and FEDER under Programme PT2020 to CIMO (UID/AGR/00690/2015) and FEADER (The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) through the project CMP122 - PDR2020-101-030981 – EGIS, Estratégias para uma Gestão Integrada do Solo e da Água em Espécies Produtoras de Frutos Secos.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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