Boron translocation in coffee trees
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Boron deficiency in coffee trees ( Coffea arabica) is widespread, however, responses to B fertilizer have been erratic, depending on the year, method, and time of application. A better understanding of B uptake, distribution, and remobilization within the plant is important in developing a rational fertilization program. Field and greenhouse experiments were conducted to study B distribution and remobilization in coffee trees. Boron was provided either in the nutrient solution or sprayed on the leaves of trees grown under adequate or transient B deficiency. There was clear evidence for B translocation via symplast ( remobilization) to coffee grains, even in well-nourished plants. When 10 B was present in the nutrient solution during most part of fruit filling, from 33 to 40% of the B found in coffee fruits was absorbed during this period, depending on the timing and duration of the B deficiency treatment. In the field, when B was sprayed once on the leaves, around 4% of the fruit B was derived from the foliar fertilizer. Boron remobilization within coffee trees is limited in well nourished plants, but it can be significant during periods of temporary B deficiency in plants otherwise well nourished with B. The implications of these findings for B fertilization practice, are discussed.