STATUS OF SOIL MACRONUTRIENTS IN APPLE ORCHARDS OF DISTRICT KILLA SAIFULLAH BALOCHISTAN
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Crop Production, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Pakistan
Apple is grown in huge areas of Balochistan province but its production is reasonably low, probably due to inadequate fertilization. A study was planned to assess the soil macronutrient status of apple orchards from ten sites of district Killa Saifullah Balochistan i.e. Saddar Killa Saifullah, Nasi, Tabli 1, Bandat Merzai, Akhtar Zai, Ali Khail, Dolat Zai, Batozai, Musafur Pur and Bazar Killa Saifullah. Soil samples were collected from five trees of each orchard at 0-15, 15-30 and 30-45 cm depth. The soil samples were analyzed for textural class, pH, EC (dS m-1), organic matter (%), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) contents. The results showed that the soils of Killa Saifullah district were variable in texture; the silty clay texture was at Saddar Killa Saifullah, Tabli 1, Akhtar Zai, Bazar Killa Saifullah and Ali Khail and clay loam in Nasi, Bandat Merzai, Musafirpur and Batozai at all three depths. The EC of all orchards were in normal range (below 2 dS m-1). The pH of the soils was amid 8.07 and 8.20 which indicates their alkaline nature. The maximum pH (8.20) was observed in Dolat Zai while across three depths the maximum pH (8.17) was observed at 30-45 cm depth. The organic matter content was marginal in all orchards except in orchard Dolat Zai (0. 81%) and Bazar Killa Saifullah (0.85%) where the organic matter content was low and decreased from upper to lower depths. The N was found low in all locations and soil depths. Soil phosphorus of apple orchards was in medium range at all depths except at two locations Saddar Killa Saifullah and Bazar Killa Saifullah where P content was in the range of 2.14 to 8.3 mg kg-1 so it was low. The status of soil K content was in medium to high (89.0 to 154.6 mg kg-1) in all orchards at three depths. The significantly positive correlation among organic matter and total nitrogen (r2 = 0.99), P (r2 = 0.55) and K (r2 = 0.26) revealed the role of organic matter in the availability of nutrients. Significantly negative correlation between organic matter and pH (r2 = -0.46) was observed and it showed the role of organic matter in lowering soil pH. This study suggests that the N, P fertilizers, and organic matter should be applied in adequate amounts for better apple production in Killa Saifullah distrcit of Balochistan.