Combined Soil and Foliar Nitrogen Fertilization Effects on Rainfed Almond Tree Performance uri icon


  • Cultivation of almond in the Mediterranean region is traditionally done under rainfed conditions and poorly established cropping practices resulting in low yields. Despite the importance of nitrogen (N) fertilization to increase yield in cultivated species, this practice is usually neglected in rainfed managed almond orchards. Selection of the most appropriate rate and method of nitrogen (N) application are utmost factors to maximize almond yield in the considered conditions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to understand how soil and foliar N fertilization affect physiological and biochemical performance, almond yield, and fruit quality of almond trees grown under rainfed conditions. A 3-year experiment comprised four soil-applied N rates (0, 25, 50, and 100 kg ha−1) with and without 0.5% foliar N application of urea during the growing season, which was arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Nitrogen soil fertilization did not influence the leaf gas exchange parameters and the content of photosynthetic pigments but significantly improved almond yield. There were no particular advantages in foliar fertilization. Soil application of small doses of fertilizer (e.g., 25 kg N ha−1) per year was optimal for maintaining appropriate physiological behavior of almond trees under the conditions in which the experiment was carried out, without compromise almond yield and fruit quality. Thus, the annual application at 25 kg N ha−1 enables substantial reduction of almond production costs being a positive contribution to environment-friendly farming practices.

publication date

  • August 2020