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FERTILITY MANAGEMENT FOR TOMATOES AND PEPPERS

Matt Ruark Dept. of Soil Science A.J. Bussan Dept. of Horticulture

OUTLINE Soil and plant testing Tomato U W nutrient guidelines N utrients of concern Pepper U W nutrient guidelines N utrients of concern

SOIL AND PLANT TISSUE TESTING S oil tests let you know where to start M onitoring plant "health" helps to know how to adjust. N ot all micronutrients have soil tests N ot all nutrient deficiencies are caused by lack of soil nutrients

SOIL AND PLANT TISSUE TESTING

Take soil sample from area where plant samples were taken

Compare "bad" and "good" parts of the field ­ improves the diagnosis!

PLANT TISSUE SAMPLING Recommendations for sampling: Tomato: collect mid-season, newest fully developed leaf, 40 plants/sample P epper: collect prior to or at early fruit development, collect petiole and leaflet, 40 plants/sample W ipe off dirt, do not wash! U WEX does not have recommendations for petiole sap testing for pepper

ORGANIC MATTER & P H T he OM measure helps place soil into category for N recommendation: < 2%, 2 to 10, 10 to 20, >20 Target pH for tomatoes and peppers: 6 .0 for mineral soil 5 .6 for organic soil

TOMATO N itrogen (N) R ecommendations based on 20-25 tons per acre of fresh weight yield

Organic Matter (%) <2% 2 to 10 10 to 20 >20% N rate 140 120 100 50

TOMATO N itrogen (N) S andy soil ­ consider split application, some preplant (20 to 40), remainder at or after first fruit set. T he best split-applications may be more of an art than science. G oal is to maximize efficient use of N, while not over-promoting vegetative growth.

TOMATO P and K P : 1.8 lb P 2 O 5 = 1 ton yield K : 8.0 lb K 2 O = 1 ton yield

VL P K 115 L 90 Opt H VH lb of P2O5/ac 40 20 90 45 lb of K2O/ac 280, 240, 180 305 265 0 EH 0

TOMATO Ca, Mg, S F ollow soil tests, plant tissue tests if needed L iming materials may contain adequate amounts of Ca or Mg G ypsum is a good source of Ca & S ... but remember, gypsum will not change pH!

LIMING MATERIALS D olomitic = CaCO 3 ·MgCO 3 C alcitic = CaCO 3 F ly ash = CaO, Ca(OH 2 ), CaCO 3 G ypsum = CaSO 4 CaCO 3 + 2H + = Ca 2+ + CO 2 + H 2 O

The carbonate affects the pH ­ not the calcium!

TOMATO

Micronutrients F ollow with plant tissue tests B oron and Copper are of main interest F oliar application of B not as effective, difficult to translocate out of plant tissue ... but foliar is often the only application method in-season. ... but B can be toxic at high levels ­ apply B, follow tissue samples, stop B applications when B becomes excessive

TOMATO Importance of B studies have shown... A pplication of B increases K in leaf tissue and fruit I ncreases yields

H igh pH (>7.5) B concentrations of1.5 and 0.1 ppm - both field showed a response to application (Huang and Snapp, 2009; MI)

TOMATO G ray wall or blotchy ripening A ssociated with: L ow K, low B, high N

PEPPER N itrogen (N) rate B ased on yield goal of 8-10 tons ac -1

Organic Matter (%) <2% 2 to 10 10 to 20 >20%

N rate 100 80 60 30

PEPPER P and K P : 1.1 lb P 2 O 5 = 1 ton yield K : 5.6 lb K 2 O = 1 ton yield

VL P K 85 L 60 Opt H VH lb of P2O5/ac 10 50 5 25 15 lb of K2O/ac 150, 110, 175 135 0 EH 0

PEPPER U W recommendations do not rank secondary micronutrients for pepper. U se plant tissue testing

PEPPER & TOMATO

Blossom end rot R elated to Ca deficiency C aused by low Ca fertility C aused by water stress C aused by excessive N or K fertilization

N encourages excessive vegetative growth K leads to high soluble salt concentrations in soil and can restrict water uptake and thus Ca.

C aused by anything that damages roots

Root interception ­ roots obtain nutrients by physically contacting nutrients in soil solution or on soil surfaces; - roots contact ~1% of soil volume; - mycorrhizal infection of root increase root-soil contact

H2PO4Mn2+ Zn2+ H2PO4Zn2+ H2PO4-

Mass flow ­ dissolved nutrients move to the root in soil water that is flowing towards the roots

NO3

Ca2+ NO3-

Ca2+

Diffusion ­ nutrients move from higher concentration in the bulk soil solution to lower concentration at the root; -In the time it takes NO3- to diffuse 1 cm, K+ diffuses 0.3 cm, and H2PO4- diffuses 0.05 cm

NO3-

NO3NO3NO3-

NO3NO3-

PRINCIPAL WAYS IN WHICH IONS MOVE FROM SOIL TO THE ROOTS OF CORN

------- Percentage (%) Supplied by ------Nutrient Amount of Nutrient Required for 150 bu/a of Corn (lb/a) Root Interception Mass Flow Diffusion

N P K Ca Mg S

170 35 175 35 40 20

1 3 2 171 38 5

99 6 20 429 250 95

0 94 78 0 0 0

Barber, Soil Bionutrient Availability, (1984). Diffusion estimated be difference between total nutrient need and nutrient supply by root interception & mass flow.

TAKE HOME MESSAGES O ver-application of N = bad U nder-application of K = bad S ulfur ­ nutrient to watch! To avoid fruit quality issues, use plant tissue and soil testing for:

B oron C alcium

QUESTIONS? THOUGHTS? CONCERNS? COMPLAINTS?

www.soils.wisc.edu/extension

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