Potential of moisture conservation practices to improve soil properties and nutrient status of Robusta coffee plant
Godfrey H., Kagezi
Charles K., Twesigye
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Soil moisture conservation practices (SMCPs) have been adopted in Uganda to adapt to the effects of climate variability. However, limited information exists on how conservation measures influence the physico-chemical properties of soil and coffee leaf nutrient concentrations. Thus, we determined the effects of selected SMCPs on the soil physio-chemical properties and leaf nutrient concentrations in Robusta coffee in a randomized incomplete block design, replicated three times, in Kituza, Uganda. Soil samples were collected from 0 to 20 cm and 20 to 40 cm depths, and analyzed in the laboratory following standard procedures for selected physio-chemical properties. Coffee leaf samples were picked from each treatment (open sun coffee (COSS), coffee cover crop, Desmodium intortum (CCS), coffee mulch, Miscanthidium violoceum (CMS), and coffee A. coriaria (ACS)). Bulk density was significantly (p < 0.001) the highest under ACS (1.61 gcm−3) and lowest under CCS (1.29 gcm−3), and it significantly (p < 0.001) increased with depth. The soil organic matter was higher than the optimum range of 1–3% at the 0–20 cm depth across different SMCPs, but within the optimum range at the 20–40 cm depth. Leaf nitrogen was significantly the highest under ACS (3.19%) and lowest under COSS (2.30%). Overall, the findings suggest that SMCPs improve the soil physio-chemical attributes and leaf nutrients for sustainable coffee productivity. However, ACS improved the leaf plant nutrition better compared to other SMCPs.