Soil temperature and horticultural traits as influenced by mulching materials and orchard floor management practices in ber (Zizypus mauritiana Lamk.)
J.S. BRAR, K.S. GILL, KIRANDEEP KAUR and GAGANDEEP KAUR
Different type of mulches viz. paddy straw mulch (PSM), black polythene mulch (BPM), and white polythene mulch (WPM) were spreaded under the canopies of Indian ber (Zizypus mauritiana Lamk.) trees in second fortnight of October. The treatments of inter-cultivation (IC) and chemical weed management (CWM), and control trees were also kept for comparative analysis. The daily soil temperature recorded at 0900, 1200, 1400 and 1700 hours from October to April months during 2018-19 and 2019-20 revealed significant variations under different treatments. The respective soil temperature variation during 1st and 2nd year was minimum (9.2 and 9.9 oC) under PSM as compared to 16.5 oC in control plots throughout the investigation period. The soil temperature under PSM was higher during extreme winters whereas, it was comparatively lower during pre and post-winter season as compared to other treatments.The variations in intra-day average soil temperature during the months of October-November and again in March-April was higher than in December-February; the period of extreme winters. Significant reduction in physiological fruit drop was recorded under all the treatments with minimum fruit drop under PSM followed by BPM, while it was maximum in control trees. Likewise, fruit weight and fruit yield was also recorded highest under PSM followed by BPM treatments. The microbes in the rhizopshere of mulched trees with PSM followed by BPM exhibited highest and sustained activity from from Otober to April month under North-West Indian conditions.