Nitrogen fertilizer application is a universal practice among cranberry growers. Cranberries only use ammonium nitrogen sources. This study was undertaken to discover how quickly cranberries in the field would take up fertilizer-derived ammonium nitrogen. Ammonium sulfate labeled with 15N was applied in field locations in Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Samples of current season growth were collected daily for 7 days beginning 24 hours after fertilizer application. In all cases 15N was detectable in the plants from treated plots by 24 hours following application. Additional nitrogen was taken up for the next 3 to 5 days depending on the location. With the exception of Oregon, the maximum concentration of 15N was found by day 7. Oregon was the coolest of the sites in this research. To determine a temperature response curve for N uptake in cranberry, cranberry roots were exposed to various temperatures in aeroponics chambers while vines were at ambient greenhouse temperatures. The optimum temperature for N uptake by cranberry vines was 18 to 24°C. This research suggests that ammonium fertilizers applied by growers and irrigated into the soil (solubilized) are taken up by the plant within 1 day following application. Soil and root temperature is involved in the rate of N uptake.
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