Fertilizer residence time affects nitrogen uptake efficiency and growth of sweet corn

L. Zotarelli, J.M.S. Scholberg, M.D. Dukes, R. Munoz-Carpena

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding plant N uptake dynamics is critical for increasing fertilizer N uptake efficiency (FUE) and minimize the risk of N leaching. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of residence time of N fertilizer on N uptake and FUE of sweet corn. Plants were grown in 25 L columns during the fall and spring to mimic short-term N uptake dynamics. Nitrogen was applied either 1, 3, or 7 d before a weekly leaching event, using KNO3 solution (total of 393 kg N ha(-1)). Residence times (t(R)) were t(R)-1, t(R)-3, and t(R)-7 d before weekly removal of residual soil N. Plant N uptake was calculated by comparing weekly N recovery from planted with non-planted columns. During the fall, N uptake values at 70 d after emergence were 59, 73, and 126 kg N ha(-1). During the spring, corresponding values were 54,108, and 159 kgN ha(-1). A linear response of plant growth and yield to the tR was observed under cooler conditions, whereas a quadratic response occurred under warmer conditions. There was correlation between root length density and yield. It is concluded that increasing N fertilizer residence time, which is indicative of better irrigation practices, enhanced overall sweet corn growth, yield, N uptake, and FUE, consequently reduced the risk of N being leached below the root zone before complete N uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1278
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • sandy soil
  • drip irrigation
  • root systems
  • nitrate
  • maize
  • temperature
  • recovery
  • plants
  • yield
  • assimilation


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