Variability in Soil Properties under Pomegranate Cultivation and their Relationship with Fruit Yield
Keywords:Semi-arid soils, pomegranate, factor analysis, organic carbon, calcium carbonate
AbstractSix pomegranate growing soils (Ahmednagar district) occurring on pediment (P1, P2 and P3) and upland (P4, P5 and P6) were characterized. The soils were moderately shallow (50-75 cm) to very deep (>150 cm), well drained, slightly alkaline to strongly alkaline (pH 7.7 to 9.3), non-saline (EC < 2 dS m-1), low to high in organic carbon (OC 1.5 to 10.3 g kg-1) and CaCO3 (3.9 to 13.9%), and medium to high in CEC [30 to 60 cmol(p+)kg-1]. Soil texture varied from sandy loam to clay loam with the clay content ranging from 4.2 to 31.0%. Saturated hydraulic conductivity (sHC) of the soils varied from 2.5 to 20.0 mm h-1 and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) varied from 0.7 to 8.7. The variability of the soils between and within landforms was assessed using factor analysis. Two factors accounted for 60 and 78% variability in soil properties in pediment and upland, respectively. The EC, sHC, OC, exchangeable Ca2+, Ca2+/Mg2+ ratio and CEC varied significantly between the landforms, and the surface soil properties differed significantly from the sub-surface in upland but not in pediment. The upland soils had higher EC, OC, sHC and CEC than the soils of pediment whereas the pediment soils had higher pH and CaCO3. Pomegranate fruit yield was significantly affected by CaCO3 (R2=0.91), OC (R2=0.87), ESP (R2=0.82), clay content and pH (R2=0.79). Suitability evaluation indicated that pedons P1, P2, P3 and P6 were marginally suitable due to various limitations and the pedons P4 and P5 were not suitable due to severe limitation in depth. Our results indicate that management of soil properties through suitable management practices is essential to sustain the pomegranate fruit yield in semi-arid regions.
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