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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition

versión On-line ISSN 0718-9516


GASPARATOS, D; ROUSSOS, P.A; CHRISTOFILOPOULOU, E  y  HAIDOUTI, C. Comparative effects of organic and conventional apple orchard management on soil chemical properties and plant mineral content under Mediterranean climate conditions. J. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.4, pp.105-117. ISSN 0718-9516.

The effects of conventional and organic management systems on soil chemical properties and leaf nutrients under Mediterranean conditions were studied over a 2-year period on adjacent commercial apple orchards in Southern Greece. The soil in both orchards was characterised as a clay loam-clay and was uniform in morphological and physical properties. The results indicated no significant differences in soil chemical properties between the different management systems, including soil organic matter (SOM), pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and C/N ratio. However, soil samples from the conventional orchard exhibited significantly higher values (p< 0.01) of electrical conductivity (EC) and higher concentrations of K, Ca, Na, Cu and Zn, which were likely the result of chemical fertiliser application. Despite the fact that organic systems promote the accumulation of soil organic matter and fertility over time through the use of organic sources, in our study, the SOM values declined, suggesting that the type and the rate of organic matter input in the organic orchard were insufficient. The leaf nutrients, with the exception of P and Ca, were within the sufficiency range in both management systems. The present findings did not provide evidence of major differences in the leaf macronutrient content between conventionally and organically grown apple trees. Nevertheless, our leaf analysis revealed higher concentrations of Zn in the conventionally grown trees and opposite results for Cu, probably due to the extensive use of copper-containing fungicides in organic orchards in Greece.

Palabras clave : soil organic matter; organic farming; leaf nutrients; apple orchard.

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