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Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrition of tomatoes at different levels of fertilizer application and of irrigation



Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrition of tomatoes at different levels of fertilizer application and of irrigation



Proc Amer Soc Hort Sci 42: 535-544



The relationships between yields and nutrition of tomatoes (Mar-globe) grown under different levels of irrigation and with varying quantities of a "complete" (4-16-4) fertilizer are examined by the method of foliar diagnosis (Plant Physiol. 12: 571, 1937). Irrigation was practiced whenever the moisture content of the soil of 1 of 3 tiers was reduced in the top 6 inches of soil to 17% in a 2d tier to 22%. Irrigation was continued to saturation of the soil to a depth of 6 inches in both tiers. A 3d tier was unirrigated. Yields of fruit ranged from a maximum of 570 lb. from the most heavily fertilized plot (2000 lb. per acre) under medium irrigation to a minimum of 183 lb. from the least fertilized (500 lb. per acre), heavily irrigated plot. These yields correspond to 28.7 tons and 9.2 tons per acre respectively. As the differences with respect to irrigation increased the nutrition of plants on the respective tiers tended to become more and more differentiated with respect to the quality factor, i.e., to the N-P-K equilibrium. The trend of these drifts is the same for comparable plots on the respective tiers. The differences in yields between similarly fertilized plots are related to the drifts in the N-P-K equilibrium in such a way that the lower yields of the unirrigated and heavily irrigated plots are associated with disequilibriums in the nutrition of the plants growing on the unirrigated tier, characterized by too high N and too low phosphoric acid; those on the heavily irrigated tier are two low in N and too high in phosphoric acid and potash.

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