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Potassium In Citrus Trees

, : Potassium In Citrus Trees. Plant Physiology 24(3): 395-415

Solution, sand, and soil cultures, representing a range of K concns., were used in studying the effects of K on the growth and composition of the leaves, flowers, and fruit of orange and lemon trees. The symptoms produced by means of low K, offered the first clue or suggestion that leaves in some citrus orchards may be low in K content. In lemon leaves in the field a peculiar gum-spotting not as yet produced in artificial cultures is now of value in the detection of leaves low in K content and considerable number of such affected orchards are now known. A deficiency of K was found to be associated with small fruit sizes and poor set. The enormous leaf fall, especially near the flowering period, in such cultures and the effect of such leaf abscission on the organic and mineral reserves in the tree, may account in large measure for the reduction in fruit sizes and set. When the K level was increased from 15 to 50 ppm. in sand cultures, a marked increase occurred in the % of K in the dry matter of lemon peel and pulp, accompanied by a marked decrease in Ca content. An excess of K was not produced in artificial cultures with fairly large concns. of K, provided the soln. was properly balanced. The dry matter of the peel of large fruit did not consistently show the larger percentages of K whereas it always showed a greater total P content. The dry matter of the pulp of large fruit contained slightly more K and considerably more total P than that of the pulp of small fruit from the same tree in the orchard. Lower percentages of K were found in mature leaves, in flowers, and in the fruit of trees in N-fertilized plots than in those of trees in non-nitrogen-fertilized plots. The leaves and flowers from trees of N-fertilized plots were the higher in Ca whereas in the leaves from trees in such plots the total P content was greatly reduced and the % of Mg was increased. This increase in available Mg upon adding N fertilizers to the soil of orchard trees may explain in part the partial or complete recovery from Mg deficiency that may occur when N is adequately supplied. In sand cultures, K levels that are being maintained over a range of 50-700 ppm. have thus far produced no injury when the nutrient levels of the culture soln. are high and the soln. is well balanced.


PMID: 16654233

DOI: 10.2307/4258222

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