Know Your Soils 2/26/2011. Today s Presentation. Soil Texture Triangle

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1 Soil Fertilization for Fruit Production Relative Size of Soil Particles Clay less than in Sand 0.8 to in Ron Godin, Ph.D. Soil Scientist Tri-River Area Agronomist Colorado State University Extension Delta, Colorado (970) , Silt to in Today s Presentation 1. Know Your Soils: Texture & Characteristics 2. Know Your Orchard Nutrient Needs a. Essential Plant Nutrients b. Soil Sampling & Testing c. Soil & Nutrient Availability d. Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome and Treating Micronutrient Deficiencies 3. Know Your Irrigation Water a. Irrigation Water b. Treatment Options 4. Putting it all together Per Soil Texture Triangle ercent clay Sandy clay Sandy clay loam Clay Clay loam Loam Silty clay Percent sil ilt Sandy Silt loam Loamy loam Sand sand Silt Percent sand Silty clay loam Know Your Soils Structure of Clay Particles Soil Texture and Nutrient Characteristics %Sand %Silt %Clay Soil Texture Soil texture is determined solely by the amount of sand, silt, and clay Excluded are: organic matter large particles (larger than 2 mm) 1

2 Clay Particles have Electrical Charge Essential Plant Nutrients Clay particles are negatively charged Molecules with electrical charge are called ions cations are positively charged ions anions are negatively charged ions Cations are attracted to negatively charged clays these cations are loosely held or exchangeable this process is called cation exchange Essential: Plant can not complete its life cycle without all of these nutrients C - Carbon H - Hydrogen O - Oxygen Macro N - Nitrogen P - Phosphorus K - Potassium S - Sulfur Ca - Calcium Mg - Magnesium Micro Fe - Iron Mn - Manganese Cu - Copper Zn - Zinc B - Boron Cl - Chloride Mo - Molybdenum Cation Exchange Soil Sampling & Soil Testing Cation Soil Solution Clay particle Soil Sampling: Randomly sample cores from top 1 foot of soil in a PLASTIC bucket Mix thoroughly and place 1 qt of soil in paper bag Sample different orchards/fruits separately Sample different topography separately Soil Testing and Analysis Send soil samples to lab for analysis Approximate cost $30 for a complete analysis Should be done every 2 3 years Know Your Orchard Nutrient Needs Soil Test Results a. Essential Plant Nutrients b. Soil Sampling & Testing c. Soil & Nutrient Availability d. Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome and Treating micronutrient deficiencies 2

3 Soil Test Results Minimum Levels for Fruit in Spring (ppm x 4 = lbs per acre) Ca 7 meq/l NO3-N 30 ppm Zn 3 ppm B 1.0 ppm ECe < 1.5dS/m Mg 3 meq/l PO4-P 25 ppm Mn 4 ppm ESP < 3 Na < 3 meq/l K 275 ppm Fe 10 ppm Cl 2 meq/l SO4-S 25 ppm Cu 1 ppm Effects of on Nutrient Availability The thicker the bar, the more available the nutrient Range of Acidity The Scale Neutral Range of Alkalinity Yellow Peach Trees Plant Growth *Each unit is 10 times more acid or alkaline than the next unit Treating micronutrient deficiencies Soil What is yellow peach tree syndrome? Optimum for most plants Most Western Colorado soils

4 Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome Chlorosis (yellowing) on youngest leaves Micronutrient deficiencies exacerbated by alkaline irrigation water Due to deficiencies in: Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and/or Boron Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome: Effects Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome Effects on Trees: - Yellowing of younger leaves - Reduces chlorophyll function - Nutrient stress (reduced health) - Stunted growth Effects on Fruit: - Reduces fruit sugars - Reduces fruit size - Reduces fruit QUALITY!!!! Effect on Yield: - Reduces yield (5-15%) depending on severity Jul 27-Jul Irrigation Water Rogers Mesa 3-Aug 10-Aug 17-Aug 24-Aug 31-Aug 7-Sep Date Causes? Micronutrient deficiencies caused by alkaline soils ( 8.2) Carbonates (ppm) Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome Jul Irrigation Water Carbonates Rogers Mesa 27-Jul CO3 3-Aug 10-Aug Date 17-Aug 24-Aug 31-Aug 7-Sep 4

5 Effects of on Nutrient Availability The thicker the bar, the more available the nutrient Micronutrient Chlorosis On youngest leaves of plants growing in alkaline soils Effects of on Micronutrients Zinc Iron Mang. Fixed made insoluble Carbonates Hydroxides Sulfates Treatment Options for Micronutrient Management 1. Treating the irrigation water with sulfuric or phosphoric acid or concentrated acetic acid to reduce (simple titration can determine amounts (10-15 gal H 2 SO 4 /ac-ft) 2. Treating the soil with elemental sulfur to reduce Reversing: lbs S/ac Maintenance: lbs S/ac 3. Applying chelated micronutrients to soil 4. Applying sulfated micronutrients to foliage (quick fix for a season) 5. Increasing organic matter applications High High Treating Alkaline Soils Acidifying Soils sulfuric acid: H 2 SO 4 elemental sulfur: 2S + 3O 2 + 2H 2 O 2H 2 SO 4 organic matter: contains organic acids NOTE: gypsum (CaSO 4 ) is NOT an effective acidifying compound! It can not be used to lower of most soils. Low micronutrient availability 5

6 Treating Alkaline Soils Know Your Irrigation Water Apply nutrients that are not readily available in high soils zinc, iron, manganese use chelated forms for soil application a. Irrigation Water b. Treating Alkaline Water Chelated Nutrients Metal nutrients tend to be insoluble in alkaline soils iron, manganese, zinc Benefits of Chelated forms are more soluble than unchelated forms stay in solution longer are more available for plant uptake Irrigation Water Optimum for most plants Western Colorado Water 8.3! Over time - soil will tend towards irrigation water Treating Plants in Alkaline Soils Foliar Application: Apply nutrients directly to plant foliage (cautions) Zinc, Iron, Manganese use sulfate salts» zinc sulfate» iron sulfate» manganese sulfate use chelated forms for soil application EDTA DTPA others Treating Alkaline Water Acidify Water: Target = - sulfuric acid: H 2 SO 4 or phosphoric acid: H 3 PO 4 Usually done by injection Cautions: acids needs special handling, special fittings, special equipment (non-corrosive), special protection Generally: Gals of acid per acre-foot of water (ac-ft = 325,850 gals) is sufficient to reduce water to (buy a meter to check) 6

7 Putting it all together 1. Know Your Soils: Texture & Characteristics 2. Know Your Orchard Nutrient Needs a. Essential Plant Nutrients b. Don t Guess Soil Test! c. Soil & Nutrient Availability d. Yellow Peach Tree Syndrome Treating Micronutrient Deficiencies 3. Know Your Irrigation Water a. Irrigation Water b. Treatment Options Questions? Thank You! (970) , 7

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