Growth and production components of West Indian cherry cultivated with saline waters and potassium fertilization
ABSTRACT Due to water limitations in terms of both quantity and quality in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil, the use of waters with high concentrations of salts become necessary in irrigated agriculture. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the growth and production of grafted West Indian cherry under saline water irrigation and potassium fertilization. The experiment was carried out in drainage lysimeters under protected environment conditions, using a Regolithic Neosol with sandy loam texture. Treatments resulted from the combination of two levels of electrical conductivity - ECw (0.8 and 3.8 dS m-1) of irrigation water and four doses of potassium (50, 75, 100 and 125% of the recommendation of Musser), arranged in a randomized block design, with three replicates. Irrigation water salinity of 3.8 dS m-1 markedly inhibited the growth in stem diameter and mean fruit weight of West Indian cherry. Potassium fertilization mitigated the deleterious effects of salt stress on the relative growth in stem diameter of the rootstock, total number of fruits and total fresh mass of fruits of West Indian cherry, with highest values in plants irrigated with water of lowest level of salinity associated with the highest dose of K2O.