AbstractA 33-month study was conducted to determine the response of banana grown on a clayey, mixed isohyperthermic Aquic Haplohumults to four sources and five rates of magnesium. The sources of Mg were dolomitic limestone (10.4% Mg), magnesium oxide (Fert-O-Mag, 51.5% Mg), and magnesium sulfate (Granusol, 45.0% Mg; Kieserite, 17.5% Mg). The Mg rates were 0, 45, 90, 135 and 180 kg/ha/crop. We obtained data of marketable bunch weight, Mg concentration in the third youngest leaf and the exchangeable Mg at two soil depths for two ratoon crops, R1 and R2. Results showed that sources of Mg had no significant effect on the three attributes studied. The rate x ratoon crop interaction, however, was highfy significant (P < 0.01) for bunch weight, leaf Mg concentration and the soil exchangeable Mg. Bunch weight, leaf Mg concentration and soil exchangeable Mg increased linearly with the amount of Mg applied in the first and second ratoons (R1 and R2).The highest bunch weight (28.4 kg) and the highest leaf Mg concentration (2 g/kg) were obtained with the application of 180 kg/ha in R2. This leaf Mg concentration, however, was considered sub-optimal for banana plants approaching the flowering stage and grown on highly weathered soils. The highest application rate of 180 kg/ha also increased the soil exchangeable Mg to its highest level of 1.6 cmol(+)/kg in R1 at a soil depth of 0 to 20 cm. Leaching and nutrient imbalance were factors that limited Mg availability. Although the banana response to Mg fertilization was linear, it was concluded that any further increase above the existing recommended rate of 55 kg/ha/year would increase production costs considerably unless a cheaper source of Mg is used.
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