Olive tree response to phosphorus application assessed from field and pot experiments Conference Paper uri icon


  • Phosphorus is a macronutrient regularly applied in olive groves even though no studies exist demonstrating the need for its application. In this work, results of two field trials and two pot experiments are presented where the response of olive tree to phosphorus application was studied from 2013 to 2017. One of the field trials was installed in a three-year-old olive grove where it was already possible to start evaluating olive yield. The second field trial started from just planted young cuttings to evaluate the biomass produced and phosphorus uptake. One of the pot experiments consisted on the use of four phosphorus rates and the other on the use of four different soils and two phosphorus rates. In the first trial, there was no significant response to phosphorus application in olive yield or biometric parameters of the fruit such as fruit size and pulp/ pit ratio. In the other three trials, only in the second pot experiment an increase in biomass production by the application of phosphorus was observed. This experiment included acidic soils, which may have greatly influenced the availability of phosphorus to the plants. In three of the four experiments leaf phosphorus concentration increased in response to phosphorus application. The pot experiments showed that roots accumulate appreciable amounts of phosphorus and that the application of phosphorus increased proportionally more the concentration of phosphorus in roots than in leaves or stems. In one of the experiments the root/shoot ratio increased with the application of phosphorus. These results seem to indicate that roots are important tissues for phosphorus accumulation which can buffer phosphorus in the shoots in periods of lower phosphorus availability in the soils and may contribute to explain the difficulty to find a response of the olive tree to the phosphorus application under field conditions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018