Pedosphere 28(3): 463--477, 2018
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2018 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Soil Physical Quality of Citrus Orchards Under Tillage, Herbicide, and Organic Managements
Simone DI PRIMA1, Jesús RODRIGO-COMINO2,3, Agata NOVARA4, Massimo IOVINO4, Mario PIRASTRU1, Saskia KEESSTRA5,6, Artemi CERDÀ7
1Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Sassari 07100(Italy)
2Instituto de Geomorfología y Suelos, Department of Geography, Málaga University, Campus of Teatinos s/n, Málaga 29071(Spain)
3Department of Physical Geography, Trier University, Trier D-54286(Germany)
4Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Forestali, Universit`à degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo 90128(Italy)
5Team Soil Water and Land Use, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen UR, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, Wageningen 6700 AA(The Netherlands)
6Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan 2308(Australia)
7 Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, Universitat de València, Valencia 46010(Spain)
Corresponding Author:Simone DI PRIMA
      Soil capacity to support life and to produce economic goods and services is strongly linked to the maintenance of good soil physical quality (SPQ). In this study, the SPQ of citrus orchards was assessed under three different soil managements, namely no-tillage using herbicides, tillage under chemical farming, and no-tillage under organic farming. Commonly used indicators, such as soil bulk density, organic carbon content, and structural stability index, were considered in conjunction with capacitive indicators estimated by the Beerkan estimation of soil transfer parameter (BEST) method. The measurements taken at the L'Alcoleja Experimental Station in Spain yielded optimal values for soil bulk density and organic carbon content in 100% and 70% of cases for organic farming. The values of structural stability index indicated that the soil was stable in 90% of cases. Differences between the soil management practices were particularly clear in terms of plant-available water capacity and saturated hydraulic conductivity. Under organic farming, the soil had the greatest ability to store and provide water to plant roots, and to quickly drain excess water and facilitate root proliferation. Management practices adopted under organic farming (such as vegetation cover between the trees, chipping after pruning, and spreading the chips on the soil surface) improved the SPQ. Conversely, the conventional management strategies unequivocally led to soil degradation owing to the loss of organic matter, soil compaction, and reduced structural stability. The results in this study show that organic farming has a clear positive impact on the SPQ, suggesting that tillage and herbicide treatments should be avoided.
Key Words:  Beerkan estimation of soil transfer parameter,capacitive indicator,organic farming,soil management,soil quality assessment,structural stability index
Citation: Di Prima S, Rodrigo-Comino J, Novara A, Iovino M, Pirastru M, Keesstra S, Cerdà A. 2018. Soil physical quality of citrus orchards under tillage, herbicide, and organic managements. Pedosphere. 28(3):463-477.
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