Plant and Soil

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 179–187 | Cite as

The fate of15N labeled nitrogen applied to mature citrus trees

  • Sala Feigenbaum
  • H. Bielorai
  • Y. Erner
  • S. Dasberg


The efficiency and balance of nitrogen from one year's application was studied in a long-term fertigation experiment. Enriched nitrogen fertilizer, K15NO3, was applied to a 22-year-old Shamouti orange tree with a history of high N applications (N3) and to an N-starved tree (N1). The distribution of N in the different parts of the trees and in the soil was determined after the experimental trees were excavated.

Similar total recovery of the labeled fertilizer N was found in the trees and soil in both treatments (N1−61.7% N3−56%). However, the distribution between tree and soil was different. The amount of recovered residual fertilizer in the soil was much larger in the N3 treatment than in N1. The highest percentage of fertilizer N was found in the new organs,i.e. fruits, twigs and leaves. The roots and branches took up only 6–14% from the labeled fertilizer.

Only 20.9% of the leaf N and 23.4% of the fruit N in the N3 tree originated in the labeled fertilizer, indicating translocation of N from older parts of the tree to new growth.

Evidence was found of storage of N in the wooded branches, while the roots contained a surprisingly small part of labeled fertilizer.

Key words

Citrus sinensis Dry matter distribution Fertigation Hamra soil Leaf area index Mediterranean climate Nitrogen distribution Nitrogen recovery Nitrogen uptake Oranges Shamouti 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sala Feigenbaum
    • 1
  • H. Bielorai
    • 1
  • Y. Erner
    • 2
  • S. Dasberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Soils and WaterAgricultural Research Organization, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael
  2. 2.Division of CitricultureAgricultural Research Organization, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael

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