Agriculture, Pêche et Aquaculture
Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
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  Evaluation of the Effect of Varied Nitrogen Fertility on Lamb's-Quarters Growth Within a Wild Blueberry Field

G. Chiasson1, G.L. Graham2 and É. Thériault3

Parter: Bleuets NB Blueberries

Abstract: A trial was initiated in the Lord and Foy region of New Brunswick to evaluate the effect of varied nitrogen fertilizer application rates on the growth and groundcover of lamb's-quarters (Chenopodium album L.) within the sprout year of a wild blueberry field. This experiment was established in an area which historically had problems with lamb's-quarters, consequently a large natural seed-bank was expected. Five levels of nitrogen fertility (0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 kg N/ha) were applied to 3m x 6m plots with four replicates in the spring before crop and weed emergence. Visual estimates of percent lamb's-quarter ground cover and average lamb's-quarters height were recorded for each plot area. Nitrogen fertilizer had a significant effect on the lamb's-quarters population, with an increasing population density for each increase in nitrogen fertility. The addition of fertilizer also resulted in a significant increase in the average lamb's-quarters height. All fertility treatments resulted in significantly taller lamb's-quarters plants. This finding confirms what has been observed in producer's fields where distinct strips of lamb's-quarters were noted, coinciding with the overlapping of fertilizer treatment. Flower bud number was significantly reduced by higher fertility levels, with a significant yield decrease observed with for the 100 kg N/ha treatment as the majority of blueberry growth was vegetative in this treatment. This research suggests that producers could potentially reduce nitrogen fertility in areas prone to heavy lamb's-quarters infestations or ensure the application of adequate herbicides to areas with high nitrogen fertility. Expanded work on the link between fertility and weeds is required to ensure producers are provided with information to enable them to utilize fertilizer in the most sustainable manner.

1NB Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, Regional Agri-Business Development, 1425 King Avenue Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 1S7
2NB Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, Crop Development Branch, P. O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
3 NB Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, Regional Agri-Business Development, P. O. Box 3058, Tracadie-Sheila, NB, E1X 1G5

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