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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (4): 1184-1198    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.09.018
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Hole fertilization in the root zone facilitates maize yield and nitrogen utilization by mitigating potential N loss and improving mineral N accumulation

SHI Wen-xuan1, ZHANG Qian1, LI Lan-tao1, TAN Jin-fang2, XIE Ruo-han2#, WANG Yi-lun1#

1 College of Resources and Environment, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, P.R.China

2 School of Agriculture, Shenzhen Campus of Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen 518107, P.R.China

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减少环境影响和提高氮利用率对确保中国的粮食安全至关重要。根区施肥已被认为是提高氮肥利用率(NUE)的有效策略,但在根区施肥条件下,控释尿素(CRU)与普通尿素掺混对夏玉米田的影响仍不清楚。因此,本研究进行了为期3年的田间试验,以不氮为对照,采用两种施肥模式(FF:人工开沟施,即农民施肥习惯HF:人工点播的根区穴施),每公顷施氮量210 kg hm-2(控释尿素普通尿素的混合比例为55),同时进行了一年的原位微试验。研究了不同施肥模式下的玉米产量、氮利用率和潜在氮损失。结果表明,FF相比HF处理在三年内使平均产量和氮素回收效率分别提高了8.522.3%相比之下HF具有更大的应用潜力,且显著提高了干物质积累、总氮吸收、SPAD值和LAI。此外,相比于FFHF使来自肥料的15N积累提高了17.2%15N的潜在损失减少了43.8%。收获时,HF处理FF增加了土壤耕层中矿质氮的积累,以便在下一季使用。因此,HF可以满足夏玉米对氮的需求,维持产量,提高NUE,同时减少环境中的氮损失。总的来说,根区穴施条件下控释尿素掺混普通尿素一种有效前景施肥模式有助于实现华北平原的环境完整性和粮食安全,值得进一步应用和研究。


Reducing environmental impacts and improving N utilization are critical to ensuring food security in China.  Although root-zone fertilization has been considered an effective strategy to improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), the effect of controlled-release urea (CRU) applied in conjunction with normal urea in this mode is unclear.  Therefore, a 3-year field experiment was conducted using a no-N-added as a control and two fertilization modes (FF, furrow fertilization by manual trenching, i.e., farmer fertilizer practice; HF: root-zone hole fertilization by point broadcast manually) at 210 kg N ha–1 (controlled-release:normal fertilizer=5:5), along with a 1-year in-situ microplot experiment.  Maize yield, NUE and N loss were investigated under different fertilization modes.  The results showed that compared with FF, HF improved the average yield and N recovery efficiency by 8.5 and 22.3% over three years, respectively.  HF had a greater potential for application than FF treatment, which led to increases in dry matter accumulation, total N uptake, SPAD value and LAI.  In addition, HF remarkably enhanced the accumulation of 15N derived from fertilizer by 17.2% compared with FF, which in turn reduced the potential loss of 15N by 43.8%.  HF increased the accumulation of N in the tillage layer of soils at harvest for potential use in the subsequent season relative to FF.  Hence, HF could match the N requirement of summer maize, sustain yield, improve NUE and reduce environmental N loss simultaneously.  Overall, root-zone hole fertilization with blended CRU and normal urea can represent an effective and promising practice to achieve environmental integrity and food security on the North China Plain, which deserves further application and investigation.

Keywords:  maize yield       hole fertilization       NUE       15N-labeled blended urea        15N loss  
Received: 06 July 2022   Accepted: 22 August 2022

This research was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0301106).

About author:  #Correspondence WANG Yi-lun, Tel: +86-371-63555504, E-mail:; XIE Ruo-han, Tel: +86-20-39339235, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

SHI Wen-xuan, ZHANG Qian, LI Lan-tao, TAN Jin-fang, XIE Ruo-han, WANG Yi-lun. 2023. Hole fertilization in the root zone facilitates maize yield and nitrogen utilization by mitigating potential N loss and improving mineral N accumulation. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(4): 1184-1198.

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