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


  • BACKGROUND: 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 soil-derived 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, eventhough soil K levels were high, indicating that soil K alone was in adequate 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 non-significant effects. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that late-season 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. 2009 Society of Chemical Industry.

published proceedings

  • Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

author list (cited authors)

  • Jifon, J. L., & Lester, G. E.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Jifon, John L||Lester, Gene E

publication date

  • November 2009