Palms have high nutrient demand. For this reason, the effects of NPK fertilization on the initial growth of peach palm (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) were studied in a field experiment, from November 1990 to April 1993. The trial was set up on an allic, previously limed soil, in Ubatuba, SP, Brazil (23º27'S, 45º04'W, 6 m asl; "Cfa" climate). A fractional factorial experimental design (½ of 4³) was utilized, with two blocks, one replication, 24 inner plants per plot and double border rows. Treatments were composed of four rates of nitrogen (0 to 400 kg N ha-1 year-1), phosphorus (0 to 200 kg P2O5 ha-1 year-1) and potassium (0 to 200 kg K2O ha-1 year-1), applied in stripes and divided in five annual applications. The fertilizers used were: calcium nitrate, triple super phosphate and potassium chloride. Plants were cultivated in a 2 × 1 m array, and periodically evaluated in relation to diameter of main stem, number of offshoots and percentage of plants with offshoots. In this sandy and low fertility soil, peach palm growth responses in relation to N and K amendments were linear and positive. Initial responses were observed three months after fertilizer application. No isolated effects of P fertilization, nor significant interactions among fertilizers were observed. Maximum growth responses were reached with 400 kg N ha-1 year-1, 0 kg P2O5 ha-1 year-1 and 200 kg K2O ha-1 year-1.
Bactris gasipaes; plante nutrition; nutrient uptake; stem diameter