University of California

Plant growth as a function of soil texture in the Hanford series


R. M. Davis
P. E. Martin
A. W. Fry
L. M. Carter
M. B. Zahara
R. M. Hagan

Authors Affiliations

R. M. Davis, Jr., was Associate Olericulturist, Department of Vegetable Crops, Davis. His address is: Kearney Horticultural Field Station, Reedley; P. E. Martin was Laboratory Technician IV, Department of Water Science and Engineering, Davis; A. W. Fry was formerly Specialist, Department of Water Science and Engineering, Kearney Horticultural Field Station, Reedley, is employed by Rainbird Sprinkler Company, Reedley; L. M. Carter was Agricultural Engineer, USDA Cotton Field Station, Shafter; M. B. Zahara was Specialist, Department of Vegetable Crops, Davis; R. M. Hagan was Professor, Department of Water Science and Engineering, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 39(5):107-120. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v39n05p107. May 1968.

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At the Kearney Horticultural Field Station, in soils of the Hanford series, cantaloupe plant growth and yield varied from excellent to poor as the sand content of the soil varied from about 40 per cent to 70 per cent. Experiments described here indicated that tendencies to moisture stress or nutritional deficiency were not the primary factors limiting plant growth on the coarser soil. Observations upon roots indicated a greater mechanical impedance to root growth in the coarser soil, although this was not reflected in penetrometer measurements, and although the rate of water percolation was higher for the coarser than for the finer soil. Since, in response to textural variation, plant development in pot culture was analogous to that in the field, the field profile did not appear to be a principal factor in the response phenomenon. A two-point hypothesis which fits all the observations is offered to explain the relationship between soil texture and plant growth: (1) for cantaloupe, pore sizes in both the coarser and finer members of this soil were too small for root extension; (2) adequate root extension occurred in the finer soil via fractures which developed during moisture loss. Fractures do not develop in the coarser soil. The response of cotton and of some woody species to textural variations in this soil is similar to that of cantaloupe.

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Davis R, Martin P, Fry A, Carter L, Zahara M, Hagan R. 1968. Plant growth as a function of soil texture in the Hanford series. Hilgardia 39(5):107-120. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v39n05p107
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