The nutrient accumulation curves of apple trees are good indicators of plant nutrient demand for each developmental stage. They are also a useful tool to evaluate orchard nutritional status and to estimate the amount of soil nutrient removal. This research aimed at evaluating the seasonality of nutrients in commercial apple orchards during the agricultural years of 1999, 2000, and 2001. Therefore, apple tree leaves and fruits of three cultivars 'Gala', 'Golden Delicious' and 'Fuji' were weekly collected and evaluated for fresh and dry matter, fruit diameter and macronutrient (N, P, K, Ca and Mg) and micronutrient (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn) concentrations. Leaf and fruit sampling started one or two weeks after full bloom, depending on the cultivar, and ended at fruit harvest or four weeks later (in the case of leaf sampling). In general, leaf concentrations of N, P, K, Cu, and B decreased; Ca increased; and Mg, Fe, Mn, and Zn did vary significantly along the plant vegetative cycle. In fruits, the initial nutrient concentrations decreased quickly, undergoing slow and continuous decreases and then remaining almost constant until the end of fruit maturation, indicating nutrient dilution, once the total nutrient accumulation increased gradually with fruit growth. Potassium was the nutrient present in highest quantities in apple tree fruits and thus, the most removed from the soil.
Malus domestica; macronutrients; micronutrients; accumulation