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Tamir, G. - Agricultural Research and Development, Central Mountain Region, Tekoa, Israel
Zilkah, S. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Dai, N. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Shawahna, R. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Cohen, S. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Bar-Tal, A. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Blueberry production is limited to acidic soils (pH < 5.5) for reasons that are not thoroughly understood. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of proportion of N-NH4+ among the total applied inorganic N {N-NH4+/(N-NH4++N-NO3¯)} (RNH4+) on rabbiteye blueberry plant growth and mineral uptake under different CaCO3 soil levels. Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum Ait., cv. TitanTM) plants were grown in sandy soil mixed with four levels of applied CaCO3 [0 (control, without any added CaCO3), 1%, 5%, or 10% (w/w)] in full factorial combination with three levels of RNH4+ (33%, 66%, or 100%), which were applied through a fertigation system. Leachate pH, biomass accumulation, the concentration of chlorophyll in the leaves, and the concentrations of minerals in leaves and stems were measured. Increased rates of RNH4+ induced acidification of the leachate solution, which was diminished by the increasing rates of applied CaCO3 in the soil. Biomass production decreased linearly as the leachate pH rose above 5.5. Biomass production was positively associated with increased Mn concentrations in the leaves and with decreased Ca concentrations in the stems. The current study demonstrates that the application of high levels of RNH4+ can reduce the pH of neutral and alkaline soils with moderate level of CaCO3 below the threshold (5.5), and enables the production of rabbiteye blueberry in unsuitable soils. 

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Combined Effects of CaCO3 and the Proportion of N-NH4+ Among the Total Applied Inorganic N on the Growth and Mineral Uptake of Rabbiteye Blueberry
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Tamir, G. - Agricultural Research and Development, Central Mountain Region, Tekoa, Israel
Zilkah, S. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Dai, N. - Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Shawahna, R. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Cohen, S. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Bar-Tal, A. - Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel

Combined Effects of CaCO3 and the Proportion of N-NH4+ Among the Total Applied Inorganic N on the Growth and Mineral Uptake of Rabbiteye Blueberry

Blueberry production is limited to acidic soils (pH < 5.5) for reasons that are not thoroughly understood. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of proportion of N-NH4+ among the total applied inorganic N {N-NH4+/(N-NH4++N-NO3¯)} (RNH4+) on rabbiteye blueberry plant growth and mineral uptake under different CaCO3 soil levels. Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum Ait., cv. TitanTM) plants were grown in sandy soil mixed with four levels of applied CaCO3 [0 (control, without any added CaCO3), 1%, 5%, or 10% (w/w)] in full factorial combination with three levels of RNH4+ (33%, 66%, or 100%), which were applied through a fertigation system. Leachate pH, biomass accumulation, the concentration of chlorophyll in the leaves, and the concentrations of minerals in leaves and stems were measured. Increased rates of RNH4+ induced acidification of the leachate solution, which was diminished by the increasing rates of applied CaCO3 in the soil. Biomass production decreased linearly as the leachate pH rose above 5.5. Biomass production was positively associated with increased Mn concentrations in the leaves and with decreased Ca concentrations in the stems. The current study demonstrates that the application of high levels of RNH4+ can reduce the pH of neutral and alkaline soils with moderate level of CaCO3 below the threshold (5.5), and enables the production of rabbiteye blueberry in unsuitable soils. 

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