Managing Nitrogen in Your Orchards
The need for nitrogen in almond trees is most prevalent from bloom through June. Monitoring N levels through tissue sampling is critical. Utilizing Extractor®, Helena’s leaf tissue sampling program, we can take a representative sample of an almond block and prescribe the ideal N application(s) and program to fit that orchard. Studies show 2.2-2.5% N level in tissues in July attribute to sufficient N management. Thus, tissue sampling should start in March, post-bloom, to make the first N adjustment if needed. Tissue sampling methods vary among consultants, but samples should be taken again in April and May (approximately 30 day intervals) to monitor N levels and make needed adjustments prior to nut-fill.
It is recommended that approximately 20% of total N be applied during spring flush, which takes place from bloom through leaf expansion. The next 30% of N can be applied between full leaf expansion and shell hardening. Another 30% should be applied between shell hardening and early hull-split, and the final 20% from hull-split through post-harvest. These recommendations are based on an almond fertilizer model provided from the research of Dr. Patrick Brown and his colleagues at UC Davis. With an Almond Wise™ plan, Helena consultants can determine N application rates based on your orchard production history and estimated yields for the upcoming season.
As regulation of nitrogen applications increases, and commodity fertilizer prices continue to rise, it is important to find more efficient ways of applying nitrogen to your crops. Coron® Metra 25 is a controlled-release foliar fertilizer that provides weeks of steady nitrogen. The uniform supply of nutrition from Coron Metra can result in optimum growth and yield, providing nitrogen at critical growth stages to manage canopy growth. Studies show combining foliar applications of Coron Metra in combination with soil-applied nitrogen results in an increase in almond yield, while reducing soil-applied nitrogen rates.
In addition to supplementing soil-applied nitrogen with Coron Metra 25, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the root zone is critical. Helena offers a soil conditioner with stabilized enzymes to increase soil health and yield potential. Standout™ delivers protected enzymes into the soil to help maximize your fertility program. The stabilized enzymes in Standout activate the biological processes in the soil to optimize the soil microbial community, resulting in increased nutrient availability, uptake, and enhanced root growth. With Versashield® Formulation Technology, Standout provides enzyme compatibility with fertilizers and pesticides, plus starts working immediately, with residual activity for up to 60 days.
With an Almond Wise plan tailored to your orchard, Helena consultants will provide agronomic information and expert recommendations throughout the growing season. By developing a regular sampling schedule utilizing our AGRIntelligence® program, we can provide you with valuable data in season and an opportunity to observe trends year over year. Ensure your trees are well fed from bloom to nut fill, and through hull-split. Contact your local Helena representative to develop your Almond Wise plan today.
- James Schaeffer, Product Specialist, Western Division
1. Brown P., Muhammad, S., Saa Silva, S. Development of Leaf Sampling Methods & Nutrient-Budget Fertilization.
2. Brown, P.H., Zhang, Q., Stevenson, M., Rosecrance R.C. Almond Nitrogen Model.