Effects of Foliar Potassium Fertilization on Fruit Growth Rate, Potassium Accumulation, Yield, and Quality of ‘Kousui’ Japanese Pear

SUMMARY. A field experiment was conducted over three growing seasons (2012–14) to study the effect of the foliar application of different potassium (K) fertilizers [potassium phosphate monobasic (KH2PO4), potassium nitrate (KNO3), and humic acid potassium (HAK)] on the fruit growth rate, yield, and quality of ‘Kousui’ japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifola) trees. Except the first year of study, foliar application of K fertilizers generally led to an increase in the concentration of fruit total soluble sugar, titratable acidity (TA) and sweetness, along with an elevated K accumulation in leaf and fruit at maturity. In 2013 and 2014, compared with the control, KNO3 treatment led to an average 16% higher yield, and HAK led to an average 15% higher soluble solid content (SSC). Furthermore,HAKresulted in 26% higher yield in 2014. KNO3 treatment showed 19% higher leaf K concentration, 38% leaf K accumulation, and 43% fruit K accumulation in maturity than the control in 2014. Different effects were found on the concentration of specific types of sugar and organic acid, of which fructose and malate were consistently increased by the K application. With regard to the amino acids, KNO3 and HAK treatments led to a significant increase in the concentration of aspartic acid, which was 12% and 22% higher than the control, respectively. In conclusion, foliar application ofKNO3 is an efficient way to increase ‘Kousui’ japanese pear fruit yield, whereas spraying HAK is an effective way to improve the fruit quality.

 

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