Fertilizer nitrogen timing and uptake efficiency of hybrid hazelnuts in the Upper Midwest, USA

Lois C. Braun, Jeffrey H. Gillman, Michael P. Russelle

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12 Scopus citations


Hybrids of Corylus avellana, C. americana and C. cornuta, are being developed as a potential crop for the Upper Midwest of the United States, but little is known about fertilizer nitrogen (N) management. We hypothesized that N application when the bushes were most fully leafed out would result in highest N uptake efficiency (NUE). We used 15N-labeled ammonium nitrate to measure NUE from soil applications in mid-April, late April, late May, early August, and mid-September. Nitrogen applied in either mid-or late April never comprised more than 5% of the total N in shoots or leaves, suggesting that N used for early leaf expansion came primarily from stored reserves. Applications made after April demonstrated that N was quickly translocated to rapidly growing plant parts: May applications comprised 9% of the N in leaves collected in July; August applications comprised 12% of the N in nut kernels collected in September; and September applications comprised 9% of N in catkins collected in October. Nitrogen applied in August and September appeared in new shoots the following April at higher levels than it did aboveground the previous October, showing that N applied late in the season may be stored belowground over the winter. NUE was highest for August and September applications at one site and August and mid-April applications at the other, implying that summer is generally the best time to apply N for most efficient uptake. However, overall NUE was low, only 5% for August applications, suggesting a need to develop other methods of improving NUE in hybrid hazelnuts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1688-1693
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

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  • Corylus
  • Nitrogen allocation
  • Nutrient recommendations
  • Tracers


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