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Population density studies with Russet Burbank II. The effect of fertilization and plant density on growth, development and yield


The response of Russet Burbank grown at five plant densities (4.0 to 11.1 × 104 plants ha−1), to level of fertilization was studied in field experiments at Guelph, Canada in the 1972 and 1973 growing seasons. Growth analysis techniques were used to establish growth patterns of Russet Burbank at three of the above plant densities (4.0,6.3 and 11.1 × 104plants ha−1), while the effect on root development of rate of fertilization was observed in controlled environments.

In both seasons total tuber yield was not influenced by plant density, while marketable yield showed a negative response to increased density. The interaction between plant density and level of fertilization did not approach significance in either season. Due to greater axillary branching at the lower plant densities, leaf area index and photosynthetically active radiation measured at two levels in the canopy, were similar at all densities. Fertilizer levels used in the field showed no negative effect on root growth in experiments conducted in controlled environments.

Marked variation in the number of mainstems and thus the number of tubers produced per plant between seasons indicated the importance of using the mainstem as the basic population unit.


La respuesta de Russet Burbank crecidos a 5 densidades de plantas (4.0 a 11.1 x 104 plantas ha−1) al nivel de fertilización, fue estudiada en experimentos de campo en Guelph, Canada, en las épocas de crecimiento de 1972 y 1973. Técnicas de anal isis de crecimiento fueron usados para establecer modelos de crecimiento de Russet Burbank en 3 de las mencionadas densidades de plantas (4.0, 6.3 y 11.1 × 104 plantas ha−1), mientras que el efecto de la tasa de fertilización sobre el desarrollo de las raíces fueron observados en ambientes controlados.

En ambas temporadas el rendimiento total de tubérculos no fue influenciado por la densidad de plantas, mientras que el rendimiento comercial mostró una respuesta negativa a densidad crecientes. La interacción entre densidad de plantas y nivel de fertilizacion no se aproximó a la significancia en ninguna temporada. Debido a la mayor ramificación axilar en las densidades de plantas menores, el indice de area foliar y la radiación photosintéticamente activa, medidos a dos niveles en el follaje, fueron similares en todas las densidades. Niveles de fertilización usados en el campo no mostraron efectos negativos en el crecimiento de raíces en experimentos conducidos en ambientes controlados.

Variacion marcada en el número de tallos principales y por lo tanto, en el número de tubérculos producidos por planta entre temporadas indicó la importancia de usar el tallo principal como la unidad básica de población.

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Part of a Ph.D. thesis submitted by the senior author.

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Lynch, D.R., Rowberry, R.G. Population density studies with Russet Burbank II. The effect of fertilization and plant density on growth, development and yield. American Potato Journal 54, 57–71 (1977).

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  • Specific Gravity
  • AMERICAN Potato Journal
  • Leaf Area Index
  • Plant Density
  • Marketable Yield