Soil-application of zinc-EDTA increases leaf photosynthesis of immature ‘Wichita’ pecan trees

Richard J. Heerema, Dawn Van Leeuwen, Marisa Y. Thompson, Joshua D. Sherman, Mary J. Comeau, James L Walworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Zinc deficiency is common in pecan (Carya illinoinensis) grown in alkaline, calcareous soils. Zinc (Zn)- deficient pecan leaves exhibit interveinal chlorosis, decreased leaf thickness, and reduced photosynthetic capacity. Low photosynthesis (Pn) contributes to restricted vegetative growth, flowering, and fruiting of Zn-deficient pecan trees. Our objectives were to measure effects of soil-applied ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-chelated Zn fertilizer on gas exchange of immature ‘Wichita’ pecan and characterize the relationship between leaf Zn concentration and Pn. The study orchard had alkaline and calcareous soils and was planted in Spring 2011. Zinc was applied throughout each growing season as Zn EDTA through microsprinklers at rates of 0 (Control), 2.2, or 4.4 kg·haL-1 Zn. Leaf gas exchange and SPAD were measured on one occasion in the 2012 growing season, four in 2013, and five in 2014. Soil Zn-EDTA applications significantly increased the leaf tissue Zn concentration throughout the study. On all measurement occasions, net Pn was significantly increased by soil-applied Zn EDTA compared with the control, but Pn was not different between the two soil-applied Zn-EDTA treatments. Leaf Pn in midseason did not increase at leaf tissue Zn concentrations above 14–22 mg·kgL-1. Leaf SPAD consistently followed a similar pattern to Pn. Soil Zn-EDTA application increased leaf stomatal conductance (gS) compared with the Control early through midseason but not after August. Intercellular CO2 concentration was significantly lower for Zn-EDTA-treated trees than the Control even on dates when there was no significant difference in gs, which suggests that soil application of Zn-EDTA alleviated nonstomatal limitations to Pn caused by Zn deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Volume142
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Carbon assimilation
  • Carya illinoinensis
  • Gas exchange
  • Micronutrient
  • Nutrient deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Horticulture

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