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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1137: International Symposium on Innovation in Integrated and Organic Horticulture (INNOHORT)

Half-highbush blueberry 'Northblue' plant growth in the juvenile stage: dependence on fertilizers in organic conditions

Authors:   A. Koort, M. Starast, T. Tasa
Keywords:   peat soil, soil pH, plant height, nutrient, abandoned peat field
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1137.10
The aim of this research was to find out how different naturally-manufactured fertilizers influence the vegetative growth of young blueberry plants in abandoned peat field conditions. The study was carried out during the years 2006-2009 in southern Estonia. The plantation was established with one-year-old half-highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum Vaccinium angustifolium) 'Northblue' plants on an abandoned peat-extraction field in the spring of 2006. Six fertilizers were used in the experiment, including the synthetic mineral fertilizer, Cropcare (6-6-19), and five natural (containing organic and mineral components) fertilizers: Algomin (2.5-0.2-0.2), Viva (5-1.7-6.2), Biolan (2.0-1.2-2.0), Kemira Bio (4-2-3) and chicken manure compost. Fertilization was carried out once a year (at the beginning of May). In 2006-2007, the fertilization rate was 0.24 g N plant-1; in 2008, it was 1.0 g N plant-1; and in 2009, it was 2.4 g N plant-1. The most vigorous growth was obtained with the mineral fertilizer, Cropcare, where the plant height was 62 cm in 2009. Kemira Bio and Biolan led to the highest growth compared to the other natural fertilizers, 55.3 and 49.2 cm, respectively. The P and K contents in the leaves were the highest with Biolan. The SPAD chlorophyll meter value was also the highest in this treatment compared to other natural fertilizers. There was a pronounced effect of the fertilizers on soil acidity. The soil pHKCI before plantation was 3.5, decreasing to 3.1 with Cropcare and increasing to 4.0 with Viva and to 5.2 with Algomin in a four-year-old plantation. The fertilizer, Algomin, considerably increased soil pH, leading to suppressed plant growth, and the plant height was only 15.8 cm in 2009. It was concluded that Algomin is not suitable for cultivating calcifuge plants such as blueberry. Biolan (2.0-1.2-2.0) and Kemira Bio (4-2-3) fulfill plant growth requirements and can be recommended for organic blueberry production.

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