Shade Trees And Soil Fertility

Cardamom is cultivated under shade trees and the soils in general have high fertility status due to addition of leaf litter and recycling (Zachariah, 1978). Nair et al. (1980) observed that shade trees bring to the soil surface the nutrients they take up from lower layers by way of leaf shed and thus they help to maintain a high fertility status and soil pH in surface soils. Even though on an average about 5.5 t/ha of organic material as leaf litter, weeds and pruned plant parts are recycled in a cardamom plantation in a year, the nutrients are mainly in the organic form and are available to the crop only by the process of mineralization. As the rate of mineralization is always low, the nutrients that become available to the crop will be able to sustain only average growth with average production. (Srinivasan et al, 1993a) (See Chapter 4 also).

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