Organic farming has been proposed as an alternative agricultural system to help solve environmental problems, like the sustainable management of soil micronutrients, without inputs of chemical fertilizers. The purposes of this study were: i) to assess Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu bioavailability through the determination of sequentially extracted chemical forms (fractions) and their correlation with foliar micronutrient concentrations in mature organic olive (cv. ‘Chondrolia Chalkidikis’) groves; ii) to determine the soil depth and the available forms (fractions) by which the 4 metals are taken up by olive trees. DTPA extractable (from the soil layers 0–20, 20–40 and 40–60 cm) and foliar micronutrient concentrations were determined in two organic olive groves. Using the Tessier fractionation, five fractions, for all the metals, were found: exchangeable, bound to carbonates (acid–soluble), bound to Fe-Mn oxides (reducible), organic (oxidizable), as well as residual form. Our results indicated that Fe was taken up by the olive trees as organic complex, mainly from the soil layer 40–60 cm. Manganese was taken up from the exchangeable fraction (0–20 cm); Zinc was taken up as organic complex from the layers 0–20 and 40–60 cm, as well as in the exchangeable form from the upper 20 cm. Copper was taken up from the soil layers 0–20 and 40–60 cm as soluble organic complex, and as exchangeable ion from the upper 20 cm. Our data reveal the crucial role of organic matter to sustain metal (Fe, Zn and Cu) uptake -as soluble complexes-by olive trees, in mature organic groves grown on calcareous soils; it is also expected that these data will constitute a thorough insight and useful tool towards a successful nutrient and organic C management for organic olive groves, since no serious nutritional deficiencies were found.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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