The subsurface application of pistachio waste compost and foliar spraying of organic matter can induce the flower yield and the quality of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) corms affected by restricted nutrient conditions

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Scientia Horticulturae


Correct use of organic waste in the form of composting can play a constructive role in reducing environmental pollution and increasing saffron sustainable production. Recently, pistachio waste compost has been considered as a soil conditioner, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Along with improving the organic structure, foliar application of amino acids through the recommendation of reputable companies is another sustainable solution that can further strengthen the relationship between trade and agriculture. The current study was conducted in Anbari Agricultural Seeds Company, Mashhad, Iran during 2019–2021. The experiment was performed with three replicates based on a randomized complete block design arranged in factorial-split including 12 main plots [Organic fertilizer (control, pistachio compost (P), wheat straw (W), cow manure (M), P + W, and P + M) × Foliar spraying (control and 2 L. ha−1 DRIN: a commercial organic compound)] and 2 sub-plots (first and second sampling). The minimum number of saffron flowers and stigma weight were observed under no-organic fertilizer; while all organic sources led to increase these traits. The values increased by 27% and 31%, respectively, resulting pistachio compost compared to control treatment. Applying organic sources resulted in a higher crocin and safranal. At the same time, foliar spraying had a significant effect in increasing crocin and safranal concentrations. Organic fertilizers and foliar spraying caused a significant effect in terms of N, P, and K concentration in daughter corms. when control treatment was considered, foliar spraying increased sucrose by 24% compared to non-spraying. Furthermore, sucrose content was recorded to be improved following all organic amendments. Similar responses were observed regarding arginine, glutamic acid, alanine, and aspartic acid. Overall, applying pistachio compost concurrent with spraying of DRIN is recommended for saffron sustainable production, especially under nutrient-restricted conditions.

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