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Title: Coconut-growing soils of Kerala: 2. Assessment of fertility and soil related constraints to coconut production
Author(s) : K.M. Nair, Abdul Haris, Jeena Mathew, V. Srinivasan, R. Dinesh, H. Hamza, P. Subramanian, C. Thamban, K.P. Chandran, V. Krishnakumar, Ravi Bhat, R. Hegde and S.K. Singh
Type: Research Articles
Volume: 46
Issue : 2
Month : AUGUST
Year : 2018
ISSN: (PRINT)0304-5242, (ONLINE) 2454-8480
Pages : 84-91
Keywords : tropical soils, soil acidity, plant available nutrients, Coconut-growing soils of Kerala, tropical soils, soil acidity, plant available nutrients, Coconut-growing soils of Kerala
Abstract: Growth, productivity and health of coconut plantations in humid tropics are influenced by soil qualities. Fertility of coconut-growing soils of Kerala was assessed by analysing samples drawn from the distinct agro-ecological regions of the state: Central and Eastern Palakkad, Northern Kerala, Central Kerala and Southern Kerala, Onattukara sandy plain and coastal sandy plain. The strongly acid soils of Northern and Central Kerala and Onattukara sandy plain are unfavorable for plant nutrient availability and microbial processes. Surface and sub-soils of Central Kerala and sandy plains have low levels of organic carbon. Available phosphorus was high in soils of Southern Kerala and Onattukara sandy plain. Plant available potassium was not adequate in these coconut-growing soils. The nutrient levels in soils of Central Kerala and sandy plain were extremely low. The same pattern was true for secondary nutrients calcium and magnesium. Soils of all regions have adequate levels of available sulphur, iron and manganese. Copper and zinc deficiency was recorded for laterite soils of central region and sandy soils of Onattukara and coastal plain. Plant available boron was deficient in all regions except for the soils of Southern Kerala. Molybdenum levels were marginal in coconut growing soils, except for the soils of Palakkad. Overhead climate and soil moisture availability does not constrain the palm in the state except for Eastern Palakkad where irrigation during dry period is an absolute necessity. The extensive areas of midland laterites and Onattukara sandy plain with strong acid reaction and aluminium in soil solution severely constrain coconut. The acid soils also suffer from deficiencies of potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and boron. These soil related constraints affect coconut production significantly and alleviation of the same through liming and adequate application of deficient nutrients can ensure satisfactory yields from the palm.
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