NUTRIENT STATUS OF APPLE ORCHARDS’ SOIL OF DISTRICT ZIARAT BALOCHISTAN
Poor apple yields and widespread nutrient shortages in Baluchistan’s apple-growing region are attributable to a combination of factors. Salinity, alkalinity, calcareousness, low organic matter, and macro- and micronutrients are the main determinants among these. A study was planned in the Balochistan region of Ziarat to investigate the soil macro and micronutrient quality of fifty apple orchards. Soil samples were taken from two tehsils i.e. Ziarat and Sanjavi. Textural class, organic matter percentage, pH, EC, soil macronutrients like nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), as well as micronutrients like copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and zinc(Zn) were determined for the samples. The findings revealed that apple orchard soil could be classified into three types based on texture: loam, silt and sandy loam with silt loam accounting for 82 % of the samples. The coefficient of variation showed narrow spread of electrical conductivity data and all 100% orchard soils were non-saline. The pH values illustrated that 92% soils were classified as moderately alkaline (7.9-8.4), 6% as slightly alkaline (7.4-7.8) and 2% as strongly alkaline. Total organic matter content was typical of our soils and was as low as 0.31% and as high as 2.91% with average values of fifty orchards as 1.39%. The results revealed that majority of 54% apple orchards had appropriate quantities of organic matter. Total N, AB-DTPA extractable nutrients i.e. P, K, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn were in the range of 0.02-0.13%, 0.26-9.41, 21.0-203.60, 0.21-1.35,0.25-6.29, 0.41-65.97 and 1.80-27.01 mg kg-1 respectively. On percent basis, 38, 72, 50, 74 and 10 apple orchard soils were correspondingly low in N, P, K, Fe and Mn. While, 46%, 24%, 44%, 26%, 20% orchard soils were marginal in N, P, K, Cu and Fe. Only 16%, 4%, and each 6% were adequate in N, P, K and Fe. In case of Cu (74%) and Mn (90%), majority of the soils were adequate. While 100% was adequate in Zn.