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Balanced Fertilization on Mango in
Southern China
By Zhou Xiuchong, Liu Guojian, Yao Jianwu, Ai Shaoying, and Yao
Lixian
The objective of this project was to provide a scientific basis for
high yield, high quality and profitable mango production by studying
the nutritional characteristics, yield increases, and economic benefits
of applying nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium
(Mg), and sulfur (S) fertilizers.

Mango is an important tropical fruit, ranking fifth amongst fruit
production and consumption worldwide. Normal yields range from
7.5 to 15.0 t/ha. However, in the southern province of Guangdong,
yields are low and unstable due to the combined effects of intense climate, poor soil fertility with a spectrum of plant nutrient deficiencies,
and a lack of understanding by farmers of the benefits from balanced
fertilization. Average mango yield in a Guangdong orchard is only 3.75
t/ha. Fruit quality is poor and less competitive in the global marketplace, resulting in low profits for local mango producers. Sustained
profitability in southern China depends on balanced fertilization research in the region.
Experimental Conditions
Trials were conducted in four mango orchards, two each in Shenzhen
and Sanshui cities. Test soils were acidic sandy loam, with low available N and deficient levels of available P, K, Mg, S, and zinc (Zn). The
eight fertilizer treatments (Table 1) were produced using sources available in China (Table 2). Since the only available
Table 1. Plant nutrients applied in the different
source of Zn was zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) and S was a
treatments (g/tree/year).
variable, no application of Zn was made to the
Treatment
N
P2O5
K2O Mg S
treatments.
Treatment plot size was 46.8 to 58 m2 , ar1. N2PSK1Mg1 400
125
320 40 80
ranged in a randomized complete block design
2. N2PSK1
400
125
320
0 80
3. N2PSMg1
400
125
0 40 80
with four replications. Mango trees were seven
4. N2PK1Mg1
400
125
320 40 0
to nine years old, planted at a density of 855
5. N2SK1Mg1
400
0
320 40 80
plants/ha (2.92 m x 4 m). The variety was
6. N1PSK1Mg1 300
125
320 40 80
Zihuaman.
7. N2PSK2Mg1 400
125
440 40 80
Total fertilizer application rate was split into
8. N2PSK2Mg2 400
125
440 80 80
three applications depending on orchard growth
Better Crops International
Vol. 15, No.2, November 2001
16

SOP=potassium sulfate.16 to 0. Yield and plant nutrient removal for Mango fruit grown in Shenzhen and percent over no S application. and S supply.14 Sanshui 1. It was also noted that while there was more removal with higher yield. K. Guangdong province. November 2001 17 . Most recently matured leaf nutrient content for Mango grown in Shenzhen and Sanshui cities. 2.98 1.04 to Shenzhen 1.2 25.8 2. N2PK1Mg1 763 272 533 0 0 0 333 5.86:0.7 Mango Yields Sanshui 18.9 37. Application of 80 g S/plant increased leaf S content by 0.64 0.8 to 19.15 0. Timing of fertilizer application to mango orchards in Guangdong province. kg/ha N P2O5 K2O Ca Mg S and Ratio with Different Shenzhen 13.09 percent over no Mg application. furrows were covered after each application.2 1.300 17. No.09:0. N2PSMg1 4.03 to 0.05 1. P.62:0.96:0.2 3.16 0.. No significant difference in leaf Table 3.04 Table 5. Fruit was harvested during July 2 to 21. Under adequate N. Fertilizers were applied in small furrows at two opposite sides of each tree.60:0.39 0. Fertilizers sources and use rates for the different treatments (g/tree/year). 1 SOP (made in China) contains 45 percent K2O and 18 percent S Plant Nutrient Content and Ratios in Mango Leaf Tissue Nutrient contents of the most recently matured leaf (MRML) of the fall growth branch are shown in Table 4. Sanshui cities. N2PSK1 763 272 200 444 0 0 0 763 272 0 0 0 400 0 3.700 22.period (Table 3).09:0. Table 2.10:0. Guangdong province. N2SK1Mg1 870 0 400 0 364 0 0 546 272 400 0 364 0 0 6. Mg and S. Treatment Urea DAP MOP SOP1 SPM MgSO4 MgCl2 1.18 percent over no K appliN P K Ca Mg S cation.4 parts per Flower promoting fertilizer 30 February 24 to March 2 million (ppm) there was also no sigFruit strengthening fertilizer 30 April 20 to May 17 nificant difference in leaf P content between the no P application and 125 g P2O5/plant. N2PSK1Mg1 763 272 400 0 364 0 0 2. MgSO4 =magnesium sulfate. The ranking of plant nutrient uptake by the fruit was K2O>N>P2O5>Ca>Mg>S. When soil-available P conFall branch promoting fertilizer 40 August 12 to September 11 tent reached 4. kg/ha Plant Nutrient Removal Rate Yield. MgCl2 =magnesium chloride. Application of 40 g Mg/plant increased leaf Mg content by 0. SPM=potassium-magnesium sulfate.7 3. uptake and removal were higher with the higher yield.09:0.70 0.17 0.6 2.09 in Shenzhen and 1:0. Plant nutrient uptake in fruit. K2O/plant increased leaf K content by Nutrient content.14 0.62 0. the ranking of plant nutrient leaf contents was N>calcium (Ca)>K>P.3 Mango fruit yield and plant nutrient removal by fruit for Shenzhen and Sanshui are shown in Table 5.10 in Sanshui. Mg. As would be expected. 15. N2PSK2Mg1 763 272 600 0 364 0 0 8. MOP=muriate of potash. N content was observed between Split application. Better Crops International Vol.16 1.4 3.0 2. N1PSK1Mg 7. Application of 320 g Table 44.1 3. mango trees receiving 400 and 300 g Growth period % Date N/plant. N2PSK2Mg2 763 272 600 0 364 0 333 Sº 0 0 29 0 0 0 0 0 DAP=diammonium phosphate. % 0. The N:P:K:Ca:Mg:S ratio was nearly identical between sites and was 1:0.

700 12.500 39.300 17. Quality and Profits Data from both sites show lower fruit yields in the first year. N2PSMg1 11.8 4.200 18.600 14. by the second year.05) = 1.14:0.440 kg/ha.1 Yuan/ha for treatment 8.4 Plant Nutrients on 8. N2PSK1Mg1 14.15:0.500 16.400 15. Cost.4 8.S.D.700 25. yields above 18.000 13.8 kg fruit/tree. respectively.800 14. N2PSK2Mg1 13. due to excessive rain during flowering.300 3. Yield of mango fruit for different treatments at different locations (1997-1999).300 18. Nitrogen. N1PSK1Mg1 10. N2PSK2Mg2 14.13:0.400 13.100 16.500 31. 5.4 kg fruit/tree.400 2. while treatments 1 and 7 resulted in returns of 31.3 7. Since no significant difference in profit could be found among the three best treatments.4 Mango Note: Fertilizer prices: urea = 1.100 14.100 3.2 3. the quality of mango fruit was equally good for treatments 1. Table 7 shows that. However.520 10. and rent.560 10. Guangdong province. Net profit.600 Yuan/t. Moreover.900 Yuan/t.700 3.000 18.140 10.800 2. treatment 1 was deemed the best recommendation Yield.050 3.500 44.500 Yuan/t.500 45.050 10.2 2.2 and 17.500 8.500 35. 15.960 kg/ha.160 10.190 kg/ha. Table 66. MgCl2 = 1. Price of Mango = 3 Yuan/kg.800 2.000 kg/ha were obtained (Table 6).10) = 1.200 3. N2PSK1Mg2 15. Average yield.8 4.100 3.500 22. Treatment 8 produced the highest four-year average yield of 15. However.800 18. 7 and 8 (data not shown).500 36.440 10.600 2. ApplicaSOP = 1.200 14.000 15.the ratio of nutrient removal for the different yield levels was quite similar. L. SPM = 1.070 10.500 23. N2PSK2Mg1 14.300 Yuan/t.500 37.300 Yuan/ha.500 19.300 9.500 40.18:1.400 Yuan/t. N2PSK1Mg1 12.10 in Shenzhen and 1:0.10 in Sanshui.300 26.700 13. with an average of 17.200 3.000 16.D.200 27. N2PSK1 11.100 18. the N:P2O5: K2O:Ca:Mg:S ratio was 1:0.D.800 13.17:1.300 8.500 2. No.S. Profits of different fertilization in mango (1997-1999).. which had similar yields of 14. MgSO4 = 1.S.300 11.800 9.600 Yuan/t. N2PK1Mg1 13.500 44.680 10. (0. MOP = 1.440 Yuan/ha 2. N1PSK1Mg1 13.200 kg/ha. (0.300 16.200 31.1 Effects of Individual 7.200 8.800 15. pesticides.0 6. Guangdong province.4). 1 L. N2PSK1 12. manpower.800 kg/h and 17. Using an average of treatments supplying all nutrients.000 12. N2PK1Mg1 12.100 15.200 2.700 17. Table 7.2.200 16. growers would realize economic returns of 32.800 2.66:0.700 and 14.8 compared with 3.300 3.100 2. Yuan/ha Output. subtracting the costs of fertilizers. kg/ha Four trial 1998 1999 1997 1998 average yields1 Treatment Shenzhen Shenzhen Sanshui Sanshui kg/ha kg/plant 1.200 17. profit analysis indicated it was not significantly different from treatments 1 or 7.700 2. DAP = 2.000 9. November 2001 18 .7 5.500 13.46:0.8 Effect of Different Plant Nutrients on Mango Fruit Yield.100 Yuan/ha for treatment 8 (ratio of output/input equal to 3.300 Yuan/t. N2PSMg1 9. tion of 300 g N/tree reS = 2.200 Yuan/t. L.12:0.600 32. (0.800 9.4 est at 2. sulted in significantly Better Crops International Vol.700 8.800 17.200 14. N2SK1Mg1 12.7 6. Value to because the cost Treatment kg/ha Fertilizer Other Yuan/ha Yuan/ha cost ratio of the fertilizers was low1.10) = 1. N2SK1Mg1 10.

Comparing application of 80 g S/tree to the treatment without S showed that mango with S applied produced 5. Magnesium. P.9 more fruits per tree. trees fertilized with K had 10. weighing 2 g more per fruit. Mg. DAP.1 more fruits per tree. for a yield increase of 1.3 percent). Potassium. Comparing application of 320 g K2O/tree with no K application. the proper application rate of K should be 320 g K2O/plant/year.3 kg fruit. Seventy-five percent of the K was provided by MOP. This yield increment was significant at the 0. Each kg of S produced 19. trees fertilized with P had 8. Conclusions Based on the results of this study.7 kg fruit.630 kg/ha (12. 2. MOP. each with a weight increase of 9 g. it is recommended that growers use a balanced approach to fertilizer use that includes N. Thus.0 percent). for a total yield increase of 1. weighing 9 g more per fruit.570 kg/ha (21. providing growers with good returns.920 kg/ha (24. Each kg of Mg produced 64.4 percent).3 kg fruit. the appropriate recommendation when other plant nutrients are applied in adequate amounts would be 400 g N/tree/year.7 percent). Comparing application of 40 g Mg/tree to the treatment without Mg showed that mango with Mg applied had 11. With 400 g N/tree.170 kg/ha (17. 15. quality. Comparing application of 125 g P2O5/tree with no P. Each kg of P2O5 produced 20. Phosphorus. Each kg of K2O produced 10.150 Yuan/ha. No.160 Yuan/ha when S was applied at 80 g/tree. weighing 6 g more per fruit. the proper application rate of P should be 125 g P2O5/tree/year. indicating a reasonably high probability of increasing yield.10 level. November 2001 19 . but no economic benefit.790 Yuan/ha when Mg was applied.7 kg fruit. for a significant yield increase of 2. Research in southern China shows the importance of balanced fertilization for sustained yields. for a significant yield increase of 2. Net profit increased 6. Thus.7 more fruits per tree.5 more fruits per plant. Higher Mg rates gave a slightly higher yield.340 kg/ha (10.600 Yuan/ha. K. Sulfur. Thus. Net income increased 4.1 more fruits per plant.1 percent). mango produced 5. Thus. the proper application rate of S should be 80 g S/plant/year. the proper application rate of Mg should be 40 g Mg/plant/year. and S in the Shenzhen and Sanshui mango growing areas. while the remaining 25 percent of the Better Crops International Vol.490 Yuan/ha. This balance was achieved by applying urea. Net profit increased 8. Net profit increased 7. and profitability of mango. for a significant yield increase of 2. and SPM.lower yield and profit than 400 g N/tree. each weighing an average 8 g more per fruit. Thus. Net profit for 400 g N/tree was 4.

and 2.3 kg/ha. and they will receive higher profits. November 2001 20 . respectively.200 kg mango/ha were produced using the following recommendation: 400 g N. four-year average profitable yields of up to 15. Nutrient removal of N.1. and 80 g S/plant/year. 3. Better Crops International Vol. 320 g K2O. No. 21 mg vitamin C/100 g. Ca.The ratio of carbohydrate to acid was 30.2.0. 3.2. where soil N and P were low to medium and K.required K and all Mg and S were supplied by SPM.3 percent organic acids. fragrance and taste. 9 percent soluble carbohydrate. 15.4. Mg. 37. Under the conditions of this study. they will obtain high yields of good quality fruit. Also. K2O. 40 g Mg.9. BCI The authors are staff of the Soil and Fertilizer Institute of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Guangzhou. Mg and S were deficient. and less than 0. Mango quality was also improved by the recommended application as measured by color. fruit weights were higher. with 14 percent solids. If mango planters follow the above recommendations. P2O5. 3. and S by the fruit from a crop producing 15. China 510640. 125 g P2O5.000 kg mango/ha was measured at 22.