Site-specific soil management can improve profitability and environmental protection of citrus groves having large spatial variation in soil and tree characteristics. The objectives of this study were to identify soil factors causing tree performance decline in a variable citrus grove, and to develop soil-specific management zones based on easily measured soil/tree parameters for variable rate applications of appropriate soil amendments. Selected soil properties at six profile depths (0–1.5 m), water table depth, ground conductivity, leaf chlorophyll index, leaf nutrients and normalized difference vegetation index were compared at 50 control points in a highly variable 45-ha citrus grove. Regression analysis indicated that 90% of spatial variation in tree growth, assessed by NDVI, was explained by average soil profile properties of organic matter, color, near-infrared reflectance, soil solution electrical conductivity, ground conductivity and water table depth. Regression results also showed that soil samples at the surface only (0–150 mm) explained 78% of NDVI variability with NIR and DTPA-extractable Fe. Excessive available copper in low soil organic matter areas of the grove apparently induced Fe deficiency, causing chlorotic foliage disorders and stunted tree growth. The semivariograms of selected variables showed a strong spatial dependence with large ranges (varied from 230 m to 255 m). This grove can be divided into different management zones on the basis of easily measured NDVI and/or soil organic matter for variable rate application of dolomite and chelated iron to improve tree performance.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 24, 2005
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