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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397074

Research Project: Conservation and Utilization of Tropical and Subtropical Tree Fruit, Cacao and Bamboo Genetic Resources

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Title: Growth and nutrient concentration of lychee grown on an acid ultisol

item Goenaga, Ricardo
item Marrero Soto, Angel
item Perez, Delvis

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2022
Publication Date: 11/23/2022
Citation: Goenaga, R.J., Marrero Soto, A.R., Perez, D.O. 2022. Growth and nutrient concentration of lychee grown on an acid ultisol. HortTechnology. 32:6.

Interpretive Summary: The most productive soils of the world are already under cultivation, and those available for agricultural expansion are often strongly acid, possessing toxic levels of soil aluminum and/or manganese. These elements could drastically reduce crop yields when present in the soil at high concentrations. Incorporation of lime to the soil is a common practice to ameliorate acidity but it is not very effective below the plough layer and often lime is not available to farmers with limited resources. The effect of soil acidity factors on dry matter production and leaf nutrient composition of three cultivars of lychee was assessed during a 2-year greenhouse study. High concentrations of soil aluminum (Al) resulted in a 77% reduction in total dry matter production which is indicative that this crop is highly susceptible to acid soils rich in soil Al. Future studies should be directed to the screening of a wider pool of lychee cultivars as an effort to identify Al-tolerant genotypes which could be used as commercial rootstocks in acid soils.

Technical Abstract: Little is known about the adaptability of lychee (Litchi chinensis ) to acidic soils high in aluminum (Al). A 2-year greenhouse study was conducted to determine the effects of various levels of soil Al on dry matter production, plant growth, and nutrient concentration in shoots of three cultivars of lychee. Soil Al treatments were statistically different for all variables measured in the study but not cultivars. Total leaf, stem and root dry weights significantly decreased at soil Al concentrations ranging from 0.42 cmol/kg to 12.69 cmol/kg. Increments in soil Al resulted in a significant reduction in the concentration of leaf Ca and P and a significant increase in leaf Al in all cultivars. The concentration of leaf K, Mg, Fe, Zn, and B were in the optimum range for lychee whereas Leaf N and Mn concentrations were above optimum. The results of this study demonstrated no cultivar differences for dry matter production in lychee trees grown under Al stress and demonstrate that lychee is highly susceptible to acid soils.