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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 77 No. 3, p. 490-494
    Received: June 7, 1984

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Phosphorus Relationships in Potato Plants1

  1. D. T. Westermann and
  2. G. E. Kleinkopf2



Maximum potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tuber yields occur when an active plant canopy is maintained until normal plant maturation. Plant nutrient concentrations and uptake rates play a major role in maintaining an active plant top. The objectives of this study were to relate the plant P concentrations to the P and dry matter balance between tuber and total plant growth needs. Growth analysis data, plant and leaf total P concentrations and content, and the petiole soluble P concentrations were obtained on a 10-to 14-day sampling interval from P fertilization treatments in replicated field studies. The P concentration of the plant tops was significantly related to the petiole soluble P concentration and the P concentration of the active leaves. Total plant P uptake and dry matter production rates were not adequate for the tuber growth rate when the total P concentrations of the tops and active leaves were less than 2.2 g P kg−1. Soluble P concentrations in the fourth petiole down from the growing tip were less than 1000 and 700 mg kg−1 when P uptake and dry matter production rates were not adequate for tuber growth, respectively. Final tuber yields increased from 30 to 70 Mg ha−1 as the number of growing days past tuber set increased from 10 to 60 days for which the P concentration of the tops was above 2.2 g P kg. The petiole soluble P concentration decreased during the growing season following a semi-logarithmic relationship. This relationship enabled the prediction of the petiole soluble P concentration for the rest of the growing season and could be used to predict when to apply supplemental P fertilizer.

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