November/December 2022 - 20

SOIL HEALTH
drought stress. Support at the roots can lead to healthier
trees above ground and increase yield potentials for
farmers, despite extreme drought conditions.
Flood-prone orchards
Flooding is the epitome of too much of a good thing.
When water pools at the surface of an orchard, it can lead
to erosion, nutrient loss and carbon loss. Other negative
impacts include salt buildup, denitrification, leaching, soil
compaction and loss of trees.
It often takes pecan trees as long to recover as they
are flooded. Photosynthesis is reduced after five days of
flooding. After 35 days, pecan trees may lose 30% of the
root soil and are at risk of falling over. Pecan trees can
handle some flooding, but not continuous flooding, and
they can only stand to be waterlogged in well-draining
soils. Continually wet soil with low oxygen levels can
reduce vigor or cause dieback or tree death.
Too much water also means the tree has less access to
essential oxygen. Oxygen (O2) is as essential to nut trees
as water. Too little oxygen decreases water and nutrient
uptake and affects kernel development. O2 plays a role in
tree mineral and water absorption, manufacturing plant
hormones, excluding sodium and other potentially toxic
ions, breaking down sugars and producing needed root
energy. Soil oxygen levels of 8-10% are considered the
minimum threshold for supporting root health.
Soil microbes optimize cool and wet field conditions
by creating larger soil aggregates and microbial glues and
nets to hold and move water. They improve soil drainage,
aeration of soil, resistance to water logging, and reduce
runoff events.
Additional ways to support soil microbes
Utilize a cover crop. Living roots provide a source of
food from the carbon released at the roots (exudates).
Cover crops also reduce wind and water erosion and
reverse the negative impact of soil compaction.
Incorporate mulch and compost into soils. These can
act as an additional food source for soil microbes and
will allow them to release nutrients for orchards at a slow
release rate.
Graph: Heliae Agriculture.
20 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022

November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

November/December 2022 - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/november-december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/july-august-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/november-december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/july-august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/may-june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/march-april-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/winter-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/fall-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/summer-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/winter-2021
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