California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Carrot Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Aboveground seasonal N uptake from a 150-day carrot crop grown in Ontario, Canada. Yields were about 20 tons/acre. For transplanted carrot, uptake is slow for about 40 days after transplanting. Uptake increases steadily while the tops are rapidly growing, but may slow and then plateau as the top growth slows [11].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

Nitrogen distribution in carrot plants. Values are averages from trials in Ontario, Quebec and Michigan [1,6,11]. Partitioning can vary greatly depending on variety, fertilization and harvest time.

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with harvested carrots. The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [3].

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton fresh weight) Source
    Mean Range  
Michigan 2001 2.89 2.09 - 3.51 [6]
Florida 1994-95 4.06 2.42 - 7.35 [4]
Ontario, Canada 2002 4.11 1.71 - 6.95 [10, 11]
Quebec, Canada   3.43 2.91 - 4.76 [1]
Poland 2003-2005 2.94 2.68 - 3.1 [7, 8]
China 1999 5.64 4.68 - 6.32 [2]
Various   3.63   [5]
Various   2.98 2.18 - 3.81 [9]
Weighted Average 3.29 1.71 - 7.35  




  1. Caron, J., Rancourt, G.T., Bélec, C., Tremblay, N., Parent, L.-é., 2014. Nitrogen budget for fertilized carrot cropping systems in Quebec organic soil. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 94, 139-148.
  2. Chen, Q., Li, X., Horlacher, D., Liebig, H.-P., 2006. Effects of different nitrogen rates on open-field vegetable growth and nitrogen utilization in the North China Plain. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 35, 1725-1740.
  3. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts - A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  4. Hochmuth, G.J., Brecht, J.K., Bassett, M.J., 1999. Nitrogen fertilization to maximize carrot yield and quality on a sandy soil. HortScience 34, 641-645.
  5. Howard, F.D., MacGillivray, J.H., Yamaguchi, M., 1962. Nutrient composition of fresh California-grown vegetables. California Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin No. 788, California Department of Agriculture.
  6. Makries, J.L., Warncke, D.D., 2013. Timing nitrogen applications for quality tops and healthy root production in carrot. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 44, 2860-2874.
  7. Smolen, S., Sady, W., 2008. Effect of various nitrogen fertilisation and foliar nutrition regimes on carrot (Daucus carota L.) yield. Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology 83, 427-434.
  8. Smolen, S., Sady, W., 2009. The effect of various nitrogen fertilization and foliar nutrition regimes on the concentrations of nitrates, ammonium, dry matter and N-total in carrot (Daucus carota L.) roots. Scientia Horticulturae 119, 219-231.
  9. United States Department of Agriculture Food Composition Database.
  10. Westerveld, S.M., McDonald, M.R., McKeown, A.W., 2006a. Carrot yield, quality, and storability in relation to preplant and residual nitrogen on mineral and organic soils. HortTechnology 16, 286-293.
  11. Westerveld, S.M., McKeown, A.W., McDonald, M.R., 2006b. Seasonal nitrogen partitioning and nitrogen uptake of carrots as affected by nitrogen application a mineral and an organic soil. HortScience 41, 1332-1338.