Nitrogen form and concentration affect nitrogen leaching and seedling growth of Prosopis velutina

Kathryn S. Hahne, Ursula K. Schuch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Velvet mesquite [Prosopis velutina Woot., Syn.: P. juliflora (Swartz) DC. var. velutina (Woot.) Sarg.] has become more popular in arid landscapes of the southwestern U.S., but little information on N requirements during the seedling stage is available. In addition to optimize growth of seedlings, minimizing N in runoff during production is an important consideration. Experiments were conducted to determine how biomass production and N leaching were affected first by different ratios of ammonium and nitrate N in sand culture and second by different N concentrations when seedlings were grown in two substrates. Mesquite seedlings produced the greatest biomass after 120 days when fertigated with a solution of 33 NO3-:67 NH4+. Loss of N through leachate was 40% greater when NH4+ comprised two thirds or more compared to one third or none in the fertigation solution. Nitrogen in leachate was highest after 16 weeks of treatment, coinciding with the reduced growth rate of seedlings. The second experiment utilized either sand or commercial growing media and a fertigation solution of 33 NO 3-:67 NH4+. Fertigation with 200 mg·L-1 N after 60 days in either substrate produced greatest biomass, while rates of 25, 50, or 100 mg·L-1 N produced about half of that biomass. With few exceptions, less N in either form was found in leachate when seedlings were grown in media and were fertigated with the two higher N rates compared to seedlings grown in sand at the two higher N rates. Plant morphology, biomass accumulation, photosynthate allocation, and the fate of N in the growing substrate and in leachate were strongly affected by the choice of growing substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Ammonium
  • Growing substrate
  • Leachate
  • Nitrate
  • Sand
  • Velvet mesquite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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