Management of Calcareous Soils in Arid Region
Calcareous soils are soils rich of calcium carbonate which occur mainly in the arid and semi-arid subtropics of both hemispheres. The diagnostic horizon in the calcareous soil is the calcic horizon which contains more than 15% CaCO3 and has a depth of more than 15cm thick. Potential productivity of calcareous soils is relatively high where adequate water and nutrients can be supplied. Crusting of the surface may affect not only infiltration and soil aeration but also the emergence of seedlings. Cemented conditions of the subsoil layers may hamper root development and water movement characteristics. Calcareous soils tend to be low in organic matter and available nitrogen. The high pH level results in unavailability of phosphate (formation of unavailable calcium phosphates as apatite) and usually reduced micronutrient availability, iron and zinc e.g. (lime induced chlorosis). There may be also problems of potassium and magnesium nutrition as a result of the nutritional imbalance between these elements and calcium.
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