Better Nutrient Utilization in Citrus

Citrus utilizes nitrogen mostly in the nitrate form and maximum uptake occurs from N applications made during the periods of active growth.

Highest yields have been recorded where nitrogen is applied as calcium nitrate rather than as ammonium nitrate.

nitrogen form and citrus yield
nitrogen type

Ammonium nitrate can also encourage soil conditions that favor citrus blight and root diseases resulting in reduced three health.

calcium and citrus root rot diseases
calcium and citrus blight

Care needs to be taken to ensure that as much of this nitrate is utilized and not leached during active periods of growth and finds its way into tree reserves to drive forward yield.

Fertigation and Nitrogen

Correct use of irrigation also ensures better utilization of nitrogen. Work on Valencia oranges in Florida, shows that an irrigated crop can use more nitrogen, increasing yields.

Fertigation x Broadcasting

Fertigation can also help ensure maximum N-utilization, providing higher yields compared to broadcasting solid fertilizer-N.

Nitrogen form is also important when fertigating because the nutrients are concentrated in the wetting zone and reactions occur faster than with broadcast, dry applied fertilizers:

  • Urea is highly susceptible to leaching and needs to be transformed to ammonium and then nitrate prior to root uptake – a process that can take more than one week, especially at lower (<180) and higher (>350) soil temperatures.
  • Ammonium – with its positive charge – is better retained in the soil, and as well as increasing long term soil supplies, it can be transformed to nitrate for root uptake. However, both uptake and transformation reduces soil pH. In soils with a low buffering capacity (sands or low CEC soils), this decrease in pH can be by one or more units. In low pH soils, this can result in the release of aluminum at toxic levels. On high pH soils, ammonia can also be released to toxic levels, again significantly reducing tree performance.
  • Application of nitrate nitrogen in irrigation water, at key periods such as leaf flush, can ensure immediate availability and stronger growth. Good management practices can minimize nitrate leaching compared to broadcast applications.

Related Yara Products


citrus fertilizer program

Citrus fertilizer program

Elaborated by our specialists, Yara's nutrition programs for citrus can help you to achieve excellent crop performance.