Nutrition of Pineapple
By Ryan Aughenbaugh
The nutrition of the pineapple plant is very important and has an enormous influence on plant growth, yield, and the fruit quality. In order for one to sustain growth and obtain good yields, it is very important to provide adequate supplies of all nutrients in the proper balance. The balanced nutrition that pineapples are required is based on the principals of best management practices ensures that excess nutrients of any type do not induce deficiencies of others, or lead to environmental degradation(Bartholomew et al., 2003). Nutrients from the pineapple plant are exported from the field in fruits, crowns, slips, suckers, and other propagules harvested for planting material. This is why the amounts of exported nutrients are related to fruit and propagule yields. The mineral contents of the pineapple’s fruit in per cent are reported in range 0.075-0.08 N, 0.015 P2O5, 0.2-0.26 K 20, 0.015-0.02 CaO, and 0.13-0.18 MgO on a fresh mass basis (Bartholomew et al., 2003). There is a high quantity and extent of variation in quantities of essential nutrients immobilized in fruits and propagules removed from fields. The main fertilizer requirements of the Pineapple are Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, and Iron. Applications of organic compost or manure may need additional pre-plant N, but usually not in post-plant. This is because the pre-plant response is certain. Nitrogen can be banded to soil with ammonium sulphate,
ammonium phosphate, potassium nitrate, urea, or urea ammonium nitrate at about 25100 kg ha-1 of Nitrogen as the elements (Bartholomew et al., 2003). Post-plant sidedressings of ammonium sulphate and potassium nitrate have shown to be effective but too expensive. Manure, sulpomag, potassium chloride, or potassium sulphate are effective at quantities ranging from 200 to 1000 kg ha-1 of K where soil K is found to be limiting (Bartholomew et al., 2003). Side-dressings and foliar applications are also used. Pineapple has a very high requirement for potassium because the plant and fruit remove large quantities of this element. Pre-plant applications of 25-150 kg ha-1 of P are often used due to the importance of P in the development of a strong root system(Bartholomew et al., 2003). Phosphorus can be adequate in many soils however and might not be available to the plant. Mycorrhiza may play an important role in the transfer of this nutrient from the soil to the plant. Calcium should be broadcasted over a field of about 200-2000 kg ha-1(Bartholomew et al., 2003). Lime, gypsum, and manure contain excellent sources of Ca(Bartholomew et al., 2003). The amounts of application broadcasted should be determined by the desired pH and Ca status of the soil. Iron can be applied as a repeated foliar application of ferrous sulphate with the same foliar solution with N is found to be very affective(Bartholomew et al., 2003). Leaf deficiency symptoms for iron are noticeable very easily and can be excellent guides to the need for iron. Cumulative amounts from repeated foliar sprays mayvary from 2-10 kg ha-1 of Fe in the plant crop and 1-5 kg ha-1 of Fe in the ratoon (Bartholomew et al., 2003). The most common deficiency symptoms of the pineapple plant can be found in its leaves. Usually it is a change in color but can also be found in the leaf texture. The
leaf can turn yellow, to olive, and to black(Bartholomew et al., 2003). The texture will usually become too stiff or too soft(Bartholomew et al., 2003). These ideal nutrient levels have are developed and used to guide the application of fertilizers. They represent the ideal situation as the allow for optimum nutrition with minimal hazards to environmental quality of overfertilization. This information is important for cultivars of pineapple who want to sustain maximum quality and yield.
Bartholomew D.P., R.E. Paull, and K.G. Rohrbach. 2003. The Pineapple: Botany, Production and Uses. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Honolulu, HI.