Modern nutrient management practices rely on fine-tuning the application of nutrients to satisfy specific needs of different tree organs at times most beneficial from the standpoint of tree productivity and fruit quality. An improved understanding of how tree nutrient reserves are built up and mobilized leads to fertilizer practices that optimize yield and fruit quality while minimizing excessive vegetative growth. The use of different rootstocks with various abilities to acquire nutrients from the soil is being explored to solve tree nutritional problems via genetic means rather than fertilizer manipulations. A better understanding of the genetic control of plant nutrient uptake and translocation on a molecular level will open new frontiers for further improving the efficiency of mineral nutrient acquisition and utilization with the use of less fertilizer.
All these modern approaches to plant nutrition are aimed at minimizing or eliminating the environmental pollution that can potentially result from the use of fertilizers. Fertilizer practices will increasingly be assessed by their impacts on fruit nutritional value, concentrations of compounds beneficial to human health (nutraceuti-cals), and general health benefits.
Related Topics: ORCHARD FLOOR MANAGEMENT; ORCHARD PLANNING AND SITE PREPARATION; SOIL MANAGEMENT AND PLANT FERTILIZATION
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