In Mediterranean countries characterized by increasingly extended hot and dry periods, olive trees are often conventionally practiced in low fertility and rainfed soils. This study investigated over a 15-month period how conventional tillage, combined with or without incorporated solid digestate, and no tillage affected selected soil properties, photosynthetic activity and productivity of mature olive trees growing in highly clayey acid soil with an unbalanced nutrient content and Mn excess. Neither in soil nor in drupes were Mn, Fe, Cu and Al contents affected by the man-agements. However, in soil, exchangeable Mn that was always larger than 200 mg kg−1 threshold and unbalanced Ca, Mg, and K contents were evidenced in all treatments. Non-tilled soil showed the highest (p < 0.05) stomatal conductance and photosynthetic rate, and the highest (p < 0.05) fruits and oil yields. Instead, conventional tillage negatively (p < 0.05) affected plant physiology and productivity, likely due to the tilled increase in aeration, enhancing soil water loss and organic C mineralization. Conversely, digestate addition increased TOC, TN and EC. Stomatal conduct-ance, the photosynthetic rate and plant yield significantly recovered (albeit not to no-tillage values) in tillage combined with incorporated digestate, suggesting that digestate-derived organic matter created soil conditions less constraining to plant growth and productivity than the conventional tillage did. Dealing with soil properties and climatic conditions is the key for adopting the best management practice for preserving plant productivity and soil fertility.

Olive Tree Physiology and Productivity Responses under No-Tillage or Digestate Amendment in an Acid Clay Soil

Dattola, Antonio;Gullo, Gregorio;Badagliacca, Giuseppe;Monti, Michele;Gelsomino, Antonio
2024-01-01

Abstract

In Mediterranean countries characterized by increasingly extended hot and dry periods, olive trees are often conventionally practiced in low fertility and rainfed soils. This study investigated over a 15-month period how conventional tillage, combined with or without incorporated solid digestate, and no tillage affected selected soil properties, photosynthetic activity and productivity of mature olive trees growing in highly clayey acid soil with an unbalanced nutrient content and Mn excess. Neither in soil nor in drupes were Mn, Fe, Cu and Al contents affected by the man-agements. However, in soil, exchangeable Mn that was always larger than 200 mg kg−1 threshold and unbalanced Ca, Mg, and K contents were evidenced in all treatments. Non-tilled soil showed the highest (p < 0.05) stomatal conductance and photosynthetic rate, and the highest (p < 0.05) fruits and oil yields. Instead, conventional tillage negatively (p < 0.05) affected plant physiology and productivity, likely due to the tilled increase in aeration, enhancing soil water loss and organic C mineralization. Conversely, digestate addition increased TOC, TN and EC. Stomatal conduct-ance, the photosynthetic rate and plant yield significantly recovered (albeit not to no-tillage values) in tillage combined with incorporated digestate, suggesting that digestate-derived organic matter created soil conditions less constraining to plant growth and productivity than the conventional tillage did. Dealing with soil properties and climatic conditions is the key for adopting the best management practice for preserving plant productivity and soil fertility.
2024
Mn toxicity; nutrient imbalance; water storage; stomatal conductance; photosynthesis; diges-tate-DOM
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/141906
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