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Effect of hail nets and fertilization management on the nutritional status, growth and production of apple trees

Mészáros, Martin, Bělíková, Hana, Čonka, Patrik, Náměstek, Jan
Scientia horticulturae 2019 v.255 pp. 134-144
Malus domestica, apples, calcium, fertigation, fruit quality, fruit set, fruit trees, fruits, growing season, hail nets, iron, irrigation management, leaves, magnesium, manganese, microclimate, microirrigation, nitrogen, nutrients, nutritional status, orchards, soil, zinc, Czech Republic
Fertilization is a way to feed the fruit trees promoting their growth, production and fruit quality. However, many factors are involved in the process from uptake to allocation and utilization of the nutrients by leaves and fruits. In this study, the effect of different environment under grey hail nets in combination with various fertilization and irrigation management on growth, production, fruit weight and nutritional status of ´Golden Delicious´ apple trees was assessed. Three years old ´Golden Delicious´ trees were grown as modified slender spindle in Holovousy (Czech Republic) on replant soils under drip irrigation. The trees were fertilized through fertigation combined with foliar treatments. The grey hail nets influenced the microclimate of the covered orchard and was linked with significant decrease of the total growth and production of the covered trees limiting the efficiency of the fertilization management on replant soils. This effect may be further connected with limited uptake of N and P into leaves and fruits, altering their partitioning between leaves and fruits during the growing season. Apart from fertilization and irrigation management, the effect of hail nets positively affected the uptake of micronutrients Fe, Mn and Zn. The elements content of fruits is related to the final fruit size and the total fruit set, where the later effect may have a higher impact.