Recent Achievements and New Research Opportunities for Optimizing Macronutrient Availability, Acquisition, and Distribution for Perennial Fruit Crops
Department of Horticulture, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Washington State University, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA
Department of Horticultural Science, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, I-39100 Bolzano, Italy
Summerland Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0, Canada
Competence Centre of Plant Health, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, I-39100 Bolzano, Italy
Scotland’s Rural College, Aberdeen AB21 9YA, Scotland
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Idaho, Parma, ID 29603, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1738; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111738
Received: 29 September 2020 / Revised: 3 November 2020 / Accepted: 3 November 2020 / Published: 8 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Nutrition of Fruit Trees)
Tree responses to fertilizer management are complex and are influenced by the interactions between the environment, other organisms, and the combined genetics of composite trees. Increased consumer awareness of the environmental impact of agriculture has stimulated research toward increasing nutrient-use efficiency, improving environmental sustainability, and maximizing quality. Here, we highlight recent advancements and identify knowledge gaps in nutrient dynamics across the soil–rhizosphere–tree continuum for fruit crops. Beneficial soil management practices can enhance nutrient uptake and there has been significant progress in the understanding of how roots, microorganisms, and soil interact to enhance nutrient acquisition in the rhizosphere. Characterizing root architecture, in situ, still remains one of the greatest research challenges in perennial fruit research. However, the last decade has advanced the characterization of root nutrient uptake and transport in plants but studies in tree fruit crops have been limited. Calcium, and its balance relative to other macronutrients, has been a primary focus for mineral nutrient research because of its important contributions to the development of physiological disorders. However, annual elemental redistribution makes these interactions complex. The development of new approaches for measuring nutrient movement in soil and plant systems will be critical for achieving sustainable production of high-quality fruit in the future.