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Growth and yield of Kinnow (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and soil physical properties as affected by orchard floor management practices in Punjab, Pakistan

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Author(s): Hafeez-ur-Rahman | Ghulam Nabi, Ijaz Ali | Tauseef Tahir and Mukhtar Ahmed

Journal: Soil & Environment
ISSN 2074-9546

Volume: 31;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 163;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Orchard floor management | soil aggregation | penetration resistance | saturated hydraulic conductivity | citrus growth performance

ABSTRACT
Improvement of soil physical properties through orchard floor management is a desired option because it results in improved yields, better nutrients and water use efficiency and reduced runoff. Studies were carried out to determine effect of weed management practices on growth, fruit production and changes in soil physico-chemical parameters in a citrus orchard. Studies comprised of two orchard floor management practices i.e. cultivation and mowing. In cultivation, weeds emerging in the orchard were controlled by cultivation/ploughing to keep their growth at minimal, while in mowing, weeds were cut at about 5 cm height to keep their growth under check and the cut weeds to act as mulch. After 8 years of continuous practice, determinations were made to compare effectiveness of the management practices in terms of plant growth and yield, changes in soil physico-chemical and water retention characteristics. The data indicated that all the growth parameters responded significantly to management practices. Similarly, soil physico-chemical parameters were also affected. Shoot growth, canopy diameter, Trunk Cross-sectional Area (TCSA) and fruit yield were increased. Soil bulk density was decreased and consequently soil porosity was increased. Mowing promoted accumulation of soil organic matter and soil aggregation. The increased water retention in soil profile and enhanced saturated hydraulic conductivity were attributed to conditions conducive to organic matter accumulation in the soil profile. The results indicated superiority of mowing practice over conventional cultivation towards plant growth, yield and improvement in soil physical properties.

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