Some physiological responses in two tomato varieties associated with levels of soil bulk density
AuthorsWilliam J. Flocker
Robert C. Menary
Authors AffiliationsWilliam J. Flocker was Assistant Olericulturist, Vegetable Crops Department, Davis, California; Robert C. Menary was Former graduate student, Vegetable Crops Department, Davis, California.
Hilgardia 30(3):101-121. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v30n03p101. July 1960.
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The movement of water and gases through soil is restricted by increases in the bulk density. Penetration of soil by roots is also restricted by high bulk densities as a result of increased mechanical resistance. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is unavoidable and is perhaps inseparably associated with undesirable soil moisture and soil aeration characteristics. The net effect of these interactions is a general reduction in plant vigor.
Since soil air spaces are markedly reduced by increasing bulk density, it is quite probable that lack of soil aeration may be an important factor in limiting plant growth. (Bertrand and Kohnke (1957))4 found that compaction of subsoil significantly slowed the diffusion of soil gases, which reduced the growth of corn plants. Improper composition of soil air in the root zone tends to induce slow-growing root systems (Lawton, 1946), inadequate nutrient (Danielson and Russell, 1957); (Lawton, 1946); (Loehwing, 1934), and water absorption (Hagan, 1950), and a delay in or failure of reproductive processes (Albert and Armstrong, 1931). Loehwing showed that aerated sunflowers and soybeans in sand and/or loam cultures absorbed greater amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium than did unaerated controls. Total weight per plant of crude fiber, starch, total sugars, and nitrogen also increased. Lawton reported that nutrients absorbed by crops grown in nutrient solutions under restricted aeration were reduced in the following order of magnitude: K replacecodegt Ca replacecodegt Mg replacecodegt N replacecodegt P. Results were similar when soil aeration was restricted by reducing soil porosity. The effect of compaction on calcium uptake may influence the incidence of blossom-end rot in tomatoes, for it is generally accepted that calcium deficiency may be a contributing factor in the prevalence of this physiological disorder (Martin, 1954); Nightingale et
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