Petrocalcic horizon

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Petrocalcic horizon

I planted my first orchard in January 2013. That was in the field I considered to be the worst of the farm. It is located on top of a little hill. The soil is heavily calcareous: Chlorosis symptoms and micronutrient deficiencies were evident in a vineyard uprooted years before. Its fertility was acceptable. Chemical analysis showed normal levels of macronutrients, which was confirmed by a good barley crop the previous year.

It is very important for young almond trees that the soil is loosen enough for the roots to grow deep. The obstacle to be overcome was a clear petrocalcic horizon, 10 cm thick and located 25 cm below the surface. But expertise has also shown that vineyards which were planted in deeply subsoiled ground were very sensitive to summer drought, especially on calcareous soils.

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Crossing of subsolied lines in the tree site

The equilibrium solution was using a subsoiler to dig a 40 cm deep ditch where the trees were to be planted, while leaving most of the petrocalcic horizon untouched. To do it more effective, the crossing lines were dig as well, as shown in the picture. I noticed that the calcic hardpan was penetrated by the till, since many slabs popped up on the surface.

I chose generic almond rootstock. Budded seedlings were supplied in pots by the nursery, ready to be planted. The pots were planted shallow, which is very important to prevent trunk deseases. The roots have grown deep and drought has been resisted.

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