Soil amendments, such as lime and organic matter, influence plant growth indirectly by improving the physical or chemical condition of the soil, though amendments gener ally also provide plant nutrients. Composted animal manures provide organic matter and improve soil structure, while supplying plant nutrients. Lime adjusts soil pH, as well as supplying calcium, and, if from dolomite, it also supplies magnesium. Pineapple root development can vary dramatically among locations, so a site-specific understanding of root development is important to determine whether or not plants will respond favourably to the use of soil amendments. Soil amendments can be broadcast immediately after knock-down so that they can be incorporated by tillage operations. Preplant fertilizers can be banded just below or adjacent to the plant line during bed formation to allow early interception by the developing roots.
Ideally, amendments and preplant fertilizers should provide all the needed nutrients in conjunction with side-dressing or foliar fertilization, or both, while maintaining a good soil tilth, which will encourage a healthy root system. For best results, nutrient management for pineapple should begin with soil sampling prior to land preparation and continue until floral differentiation. Various nutrient-management strategies are discussed later in this chapter.
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