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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (2): 598-610    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.008
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Drip fertigation and plant hedgerows significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses and maintain high fruit yields in intensive orchards

SONG Ke1*, QIN Qin1*, YANG Ye-feng2, SUN Li-juan1, SUN Ya-fei1, ZHENG Xian-qing1, LÜ Wei-guang1, XUE Yong1

1 Eco-Environmental Protection Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai 201403, P.R.China

2 Pudong New District Agro-Technology Extension Service Center, Shanghai 201300, P.R.China

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Abstract  A field experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of drip fertigation combined with plant hedgerows on nitrogen and phosphorus runoff losses in intensive pear orchards in the Tai Lake Basin.  Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff over a whole year were measured by using successional runoff water collection devices.  The four experimental treatments were conventional fertilization (CK), drip fertigation (DF), conventional fertilization combined with plant hedgerows (C+H), and drip fertigation combined with plant hedgerows (D+H).  The results from one year of continuous monitoring showed a significant positive correlation between precipitation and surface runoff discharge.  Surface runoff discharge under the treatments without plant hedgerows totaled 15.86% of precipitation, while surface runoff discharge under the treatments with plant hedgerows totaled 12.82% of precipitation.  Plant hedgerows reduced the number of runoff events and the amount of surface runoff.  Precipitation is the main driving force for the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus in surface runoff, and fertilization is an important factor affecting the losses of nitrogen and phosphorus.  In CK, approximately 7.36% of nitrogen and 2.63% of phosphorus from fertilization entered the surface water through runoff.  Drip fertigation reduced the accumulation of nitrogen and phosphorus in the surface soil and lowered the runoff loss concentrations of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP).  Drip fertigation combined with plant hedgerows significantly reduced the overall TN and TP losses by 45.38 and 36.81%, respectively, in comparison to the CK totals.  Drip fertigation increased the vertical migration depth of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients and reduced the accumulation of nitrogen and phosphorus in the surface soil, which increased the pear yield.  The promotion of drip fertigation combined with plant hedgerows will greatly reduce the losses of nitrogen and phosphorus to runoff and maintain the high fruit yields in the intensive orchards of the Tai Lake Basin.

Keywords:  drip fertigation       plant hedgerows              surface runoff              nitrogen and phosphorus losses              fruit yields  
Received: 06 December 2021   Accepted: 28 March 2022
Fund: This work was supported by the International S&T Cooperation Program of Shanghai, China (20390731200) and the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment, China (2017ZX07205).  
About author:  SONG Ke, E-mail:; Correspondence LÜ Wei-guang, E-mail:; XUE Yong, Tel/Fax: +86-21-62202594, E-mail: * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

SONG Ke, QIN Qin, YANG Ye-feng, SUN Li-juan, SUN Ya-fei, ZHENG Xian-qing, LÜ Wei-guang, XUE Yong. 2023. Drip fertigation and plant hedgerows significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses and maintain high fruit yields in intensive orchards. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(2): 598-610.

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