Assessment of nutritional requirements

Pineapple responses to nutrient management are dramatically affected by the condition of the soil and the health of the developing root system. Pathogens, nematodes, waterlogging and impermeable soil easily inhibit the crop from assimilating nutrients and responding to fertilizers. Indeed, several symptoms due to stress in pineapple are easily misinterpreted as nutritional deficiencies. When optimum growing conditions prevail, particularly for the roots, significant economical responses can be achieved with both soil-applied and foliar-applied fertilizers.

A preliminary assessment of nutrient requirements can be made by soil testing. Soil samples should be taken prior to land preparation, such as just before knockdown, and should represent the rooting volume of the native soil, less any contributions made from the crop residue. The total nutrient-management programme for pineapple is determined for three important stages -broadcast amendments for soil improvement, localized preplant fertilizer to promote early rooting and early nutrient uptake, and postplant side-dressing or foliar fertilizers for the remaining nutrients which may still be limiting. Such a composite fertilizer programme has great flexibility and provides for maximum economic benefit. A variety of total nutrient-management programmes exist for pineapple, given the diverse environments and the range of available fertilizers. Moreover, fertilizer programmes in successful farms are usually under constant evaluation to discover opportunities for additional responses.

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