Foliar potassium fertilization improves fruit quality of field-grown muskmelon on calcareous soils in south Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractBACKGROUND: Among plant nutrients, potassium (K) has the strongest influence on crop quality parameters that determine consumer preference. However, soil and plant factors often limit adequate soil K uptake to satisfy quality requirements during fruit development stages. The objectives of this multiyear field study with muskmelon were to determine if this apparent K deficiency and the associated fruit quality limitations can be alleviated by supplementing soilderived K with foliar K nutrition, and whether differences exist among potential foliar K salts.RESULTS: Foliar K treatments increased tissue K concentrations, fruit sugars and bioactive compounds (ascorbic acid and carotene) by 19%, 21% and 15%, respectively, even though soil K levels were high, indicating that soil K alone was inadequate to improve these quality traits. All the K salts evaluated increased tissue K and fruit quality traits; however, no clear trends in the relative magnitudes of these enhancements were apparent among K sources, except for KNO3 which consistently resulted in nonsignificant effects.CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that lateseason foliar K feeding can improve fruit quality of muskmelons grown on calcareous soils. The data also reveal differences among K salts and suggest a reassessment of K management strategies aimed at improving quality. Copyright 2009 Society of Chemical Industry

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Jifon, J. L., & Lester, G. E.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Jifon, John L||Lester, Gene E

publication date

  • November 2009