Soil and foliar applied boron in olive: tree crop growth and yield, and boron remobilization within plant tissues

Isabel Q. Ferreira, M. Ângelo Rodrigues, Margarida Arrobas


Boron (B) has great importance in the fertilizer recommendation programs of olive, since B deficiency is a frequent nutritional disorder. This paper reports results of the olive response to applied B from two 3-year field trials (ExpF1, ExpF2) and two pot experiments (ExpP1, ExpP2). The ExpF1 was installed in a 3-year-old orchard and the ExpF2 consisted of planting young trees with the aboveground biomass yield being recorded. In ExpP1, B was applied to the soil or as a foliar spray to the whole of the canopy. The ExpP2 consisted of the application of B to selected parts of the canopy. The concentration of B in the existing tissues receiving the spray directly and in the new shoots developing after the B application was determined. The performance of the crop, including olive yield, did not increase in ExpF1 with soil-applied B. However, dry matter yield of young plants in ExpF2 significantly increased with B application. The application of B, both as a soil fertilizer and as a foliar spray, significantly increased the B concentration in all tissues and in all experiments. From ExpP1, soil applied B proved to be a more powerful tool of delivering high amounts of B to the plant than foliar spray. From ExpP2, B was shown to be mobile in the tree to some extent, although the mobility appears to be cultivar-dependent. In 'Arbequina' the older leaves that received the foliar spray showed higher B levels than the young leaves that developed thereafter, whereas in 'Cobrançosa' this difference was not observed.


boron fertilization; boron mobility; field trials; Olea europaea; olive yield; pot experiments

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2019171-13796