SREL Reprint #1881






H. W. Martini
Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717

W. C. Liebhardt
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

ABSTRACT: In a ten-year study of potassium (K) and lime application to a Kalmia -sandy loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic Typic Hapludult), a soil high in nonexchangeable K, corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Herr.] have not responded to applied K. The objectives of this study were to determine if a high K-requiring crop such as tomato (Lycocersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Redpak) would respond to KCI fertilizer rate or lime type (dolomitic, calcitic, and mixed) and rate on such a soil. Potassium was applied at 0, 56, and 112 kg K/ha every year for ten years. Lime was applied at 0, 2, and 9 Mg/ha in calcitic, mixed, and dolomitic forms twice in ten years (1970 and 1973). In 1980, the tenth year of the study, tomato fruit was harvested by hand once-over to simulate machine harvest and divided into four maturity groups by color. Soil pH was higher with dolomitic than calcitic lime. Soil K saturation was not influenced by lime rate or type. Fruit yield and leaf phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) concentrations increased with increasing lime rates. Leaf K, manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), boron (B), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), barium (Ba), strontium (Sr), and aluminum (Al) concentrations decreased with increasing lime rate. Leaf Mn, Ba, and Sr concentrations were lower with dolomitic than with calcitic lime. Lime type had no effect on tomato yield. Wide ranges in basic cation saturation ratios had little effect on yield. Soil K saturation and leaf K, Zn, and Ba concentrations increased with increasing K rate. Soil Ca and leaf Ca, Mg and Al concentrations decreased with increasing K rate. Applied K had no effect on total yield but once over marketable yield increased linearly with increasing K rate. marketable yield increased 14% with an increase in K rate from 0 to 56 kg/ha. Thus, fruit maturity was apparently hastened by K fertilization.

SREL Reprint #1881

Martin, H.W. and W.C. Liebhardt. 1994. Tomato response to long-term potassium and lime application on a sandy ultisol high in nonexchangeable potassium. Journal of Plant Nutrition 17:1751-1768.

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