Plant and Soil

, Volume 313, Issue 1–2, pp 55–70 | Cite as

Influence of root zone nitrogen management and a summer catch crop on cucumber yield and soil mineral nitrogen dynamics in intensive production systems

  • Ruiying Guo
  • Xiaolin Li
  • Peter Christie
  • Qing Chen
  • Rongfeng Jiang
  • Fusuo Zhang
Regular Article


Nutrient and water management is crucially important in shallow-rooted vegetable production systems characterized by high input and high environmental risk. A 2-year field experiment on greenhouse cucumber double-cropping systems examined the effects of root zone nitrogen management and planting of sweet corn as a catch crop in the summer fallow period on cucumber yield and soil Nmin dynamics compared to conventional practices. Cucumber fruit yields were not significantly affected by root zone N management and catch crop planting despite a decrease in N fertilizer application of 53% compared to conventional N management. Soil Nmin content to a depth of 0.9 m decreased markedly and root zone (0–0.3 m) soil Nmin content was maintained at about 200 kg N ha−1. Root zone N management efficiently and directly reduced apparent N losses by 44% and 45% in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Sweet corn, the summer catch crop, depleted Nmin residue in the soil profile of 1.8 m at harvest of winter–spring season cucumber by 304–333 kg N ha−1, which contributed 19–22% reduction in N loss. Compared to conventional N management, N loss was reduced by 56% under root zone N management and catch crop planting.


Sweet corn Catch crop Greenhouse cucumber Nmin Root zone N management 



We are grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 30671236) and the key projects of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2006BAD17B03 and 2006BAD17B07) for financial supports.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruiying Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaolin Li
    • 1
  • Peter Christie
    • 1
    • 3
  • Qing Chen
    • 1
  • Rongfeng Jiang
    • 1
  • Fusuo Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Ecology, School of Life SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Agricultural and Environmental Science DepartmentQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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