An apple a day keeps the doctor away is a common phrase throughout the world. Apples are attractive fruits and are known for their distinctive taste, nutritional value, and varietal diversity. These are popular among consumers and farmers.
Nutrients play a crucial role in crop growth and hence it’s important to feed plants with the necessary nutrients throughout their growing period. In apple farming, the secret to success is to ensure that the plants receive nutrients on time and in the right quantity. There are 2 types of fertilizing that is applied at different stages of the crop life-cycle which are:
- Planting fertilization
- Supplementary fertilization/top-dressing fertilization
Planting fertilization is applied during planting or in the early stages of a crop life-cycle. However, it’s not necessary for fruit farming since the topsoil is mixed with well-decomposed manure before planting.
Top-dressing fertilization or supplementary fertilization is an important practice that involves the application of nitrogen-based fertilizers periodically during vegetative growth when the apple plants are growing vigorously. This enhances the performance of the crops during the sensitive development stages.
Managing nitrogen with top-dressing fertilization
In the early stages, apple plants require small amounts of nitrogen hence need little nitrogen-based fertilizers. However, during vegetative growth, when the crop is growing vigorously, high amounts of nitrogen are required. This means that regular application of manure and nitrogen-based fertilizers such as Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) is required.
Nitrogen deficiency can affect the performance of the crops greatly during the vegetative stage and can cause chlorosis and stunted growth. At the same time, excessive nitrogen amounts can also harm the crops and makes them subjected to leaching. High amounts of nitrogen make the plants pay more concentration on vegetative growth instead of fruit formation which translates into low yields. Supplementary fertilization should be well-balanced and only applied according to the crop’s needs. There are different ways of applying fertilizers that can be adopted in apple orchards. They include:
- Banding where fertilizers are applied in rows
- Broadcasting where fertilizers are applied equally in the entire orchard
Liquid nitrogen can be applied by:
- Foliar fertilization
- Fertigation whereby fertilizers are applied through irrigation systems
Today, farmers in different parts of the world are embracing smart farming practices and automated fertigation and irrigation systems. Automated fertigation systems are enhancing fertilizer application in small and large farms.
For optimum yields, Supplementary Fertilization is Required
Proper nutrient management in apple farming is important to enhance crop growth and to increase yields. Timely fertilizer application and manuring increase production and yield quality. Soil analysis is important to know the nutrients that are present and absent in the soil. The average production of apple trees varies depending on the growing conditions, the varietal characteristics, feeding programs, and farm management practices. Under good care, an acre can produce around 20 tonnes.
The demand for apples has been increasing rapidly due to their health benefits and extensive use in making juice, jam, vinegar, cedar, and other products. Apples are highly productive when proper nutrient management, timely pest and disease control, and proper orchard management practices are employed.
At Oxfarm we have the best quality apple seedlings contact us today for more details.