Soil and climate of Horticulture crops in detail

Soil and climatic of Horticulture crops

Soil and climate of Horticulture crops

The Climate and soil have important role played in growth of the plant. Fruit growers should have knowledge of the effect of various soil and climatic conditions on fruit growing. Horticulture crops cannot be grown in all type of soil and climate. Hence zone wise cultivation is made. Climate includes a number of parameters like temperature, rainfall, atmospheric humidity, wind, hail, light, whereas soil covers such factors as moisture supply, texture, chemical composition and soil temperature. (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

SOIL (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Horticulture crops require soils as growing medium. It provides mechanical support, nutrients and water to the plant growth. The demand of Horticultural crops is mainly water, nutrients and growth hormones. The number of factors affects roots absorbing nutrients and moisture. To ensure development of an efficient root growth.

The soils must contain adequate supply of air, water and low bulk density. Most of the Horticulture crops need well drained soil and cannot tolerate water logging. Therefore deep and well drained soils, free from hard sub oils, are needed for growth of the plant. While examining the soil, more attention is paid to its physical conditions rather than its chemical composition. Soil may defined as “ superficial earth crust which function as store house of reservoir of water and nutrient at the same time providing the necessary physical support to the plant”.  (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Properties of soil: (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Soil are mainly classified as physical as well as chemical properties of mostly influenced
mineral matter of the soil and by the soil particles like sand, silt and clay.
Sandy soils feel gritty when rubbed between your fingers. Silts feel smooth a little like
flour most clays are sticky and mouldable.  (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Sand Particles

Course sand = 0.2 to 2 mm in diameter.

Fine sand = 0.02 to 0.2 mm in diameter

Silt = 0.002 to 0.02 mm in diameter.

Clay = < 0.002 mm in diameter.

On account of small size and relatively large surface area they exhibits colloids property and are
capable of increasing the water as well as nutrient retention capacity of the soil. In a typical soil
there should be proper proportion of these soil particles.

It is possible to alter the physical condition of the soil by adding organic matter. This improves
the structure and texture of the soil.

Physical properties of soil: (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Soil structure:

Soil structure should be uniform favorable for water penetration, soil aeration and drainage. It has different layers therefore soil profile pits have to be taken and examined the structure.

Soil aeration and drainage:

Soil aeration which is helpful for growth of aerobic organism. In the soil to promote metabolic
activities of these organisms. Fruit and vegetables required well drained soil. Poor performance
observed due to poor aeration and drainage. Therefore well drained soil is essential. Extreme wet and dry soil should be avoided.

Water Table:

Availability of water at a certain depth is called as water table. High percentage of water can rise
into water logging which is affect on growth of the plants. Therefore water depth should not
more than 2m throughout the year.

Soil depth and Organic matters:

Heavy soil caused water logging and poor aeration. light soils are infertile due to lending of
nutrients therefore the soils should 2 to 2.5 m deep for growing of fruits and vegetables.
Successfully organic matters influenced on physical and chemical properties of soils. Whenever
soil contain more amount of organic matter which will increase the production of fruits and

In The case of Horticulture crops generally required medium textured soil. Fine and coarse textured soil should be avoided.

Soil Temperature:

Soil temperature affects the root activity and is influenced by aeration and drainage. In cold soils chemical and biological activities are slow and availability of nutrients like N, P, S and Ca is limited.
Nitrification would not start when the temperature is 4°C for successful growth of horticultural plants the soil temperature should be within the range of 26 to 36°C. Due to low temperature absorption and transport of water and nutrient is adversely affected.

Chemical Properties of soil: (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Soil fertility:

Soil fertility depends on nutrients contain such as N.P,K, Ca, Mg and S are important elements
required for growth development of plants. Micro-nutrients like Fe, Mn, Zn, Bo, Cu, Mo etc are
also required.

Soil reaction:

Soil analysis is important to find out the chemical composition of soil. The safe PH range is from 6 to 8. Some soils are Problematic for plant growth like saline and alkaline soils. In Alkaline soils concentration of sodium salts above 0.1% is harmful. Boron is deficient in alkaline soils and is unavailable in acidic soils. Iron is available in acidic soils whereas calcium and magnesium are deficient. In alkaline soils K, Mn, Fe, and Boron are deficient.

Soil Salinity:

Information on salt tolerance is necessary to select salt tolerant varieties and to adopt
proper soil management practices.

1) Salt tolerant Crops: Date palm, Phalsa, Sapota, Fig, Grape, Aonla, Wood apple, Ber,
Chikory, Potato, Sweet potato, Watermelon etc.

2) Moderate salt tolerant crops: Pomegranate, Grape fruit, Lemon, apple, Pear, Plum, Beans,
Cucumber, Brinjal, Garllic, Radish, Pea, Tomato, Turnip.

3) Salt Sensitive crops: Orange, Peach, avocado, strawberry, Asparagus, Beet, Cabbage,
Cauliflower, Palak, Leek, Lettuce.

In general it may be stated that soils for fruit growing should be porous deep and aerated. They should not be water logged, marshy, saline, or acidic and three should be no hard pan at the bottom layers.

CLIMATE (Soil and climate of Horticulture crops)

Climate is defined as the whole of average atmosphere phenomenon for a certain region
calculated for a period of thirty years.


Each and every Horticulture crops having its optimum temperature requirement which is suitable for their growth. It has range of temperature to which it is tolerant and below or above which the plant of that variety are liable to be injured to a more or less extent. Growth of banana is influenced by temperature. It grows well with a mean monthly temperature of 26.5°C. When the temperature goes below mean temperature owing to reduced rate of leaf production and delayed the harvesting. Therefore it is important for growers not only to known the minimum temperature of the region were the fruit crops are to be grown but also the approximate minimum temperature that the particular plant or crop can withstand at different stage of growth.

Atmospheric Humidity:

The atmospheric humidity also influences growth and development of plants. Low humidity has drying effect and enhances water requirement whereas high humidity favors fungal diseases, tastelessness and low keeping quality. High humidity and low humidity are suitable for following crops; like high humidity favorable for Sapota , Banana, Mangosteen, Jackfruit and Breadfruit. Whereas low humidity suitable for Ber, Grape, Datepalm, Pomegranate, Citrus, Aonla and Guava. The atmospheric humidity affects the juiciness of the fruits which is observed in Ambia bahar fruits of Mandarin is juicer than mrig bahar fruit of Mandarin probably due to humidity during growing season of both bahar.


Water requirement of the crops is dependent on soil type and evapo transpiration rate. For crop production it is not the total rainfall but its distribution is more important and in Indian subcontinent we have rains mainly confined to June to September , thereby fruit culture in India had to be supported by irrigation or one has to select crop where fruiting is confined to water availability periods and trees remains dormant during stress. Excessive rains occurring in short periods are generally unfavorable to fruits as it leads to water logging and at blooming time may wash away pollens and thereby inhibit pollination. In low rainfall regions, cultivation of fruit crops is difficult if adequate and cheap irrigation
facilities are not available.


It is also one of the climatic factors influencing the plant growth. A situation which is exposed to wind causes evaporation of soil moisture and thereby necessities more frequent irrigation. Hot wind at the time of blossoming may cause failure of pollination due to drying of stigmatic fluid and reduced activities of the pollinating insects. In the case of deserts, valleys for avoidance of high speed wind windbreaks and shelter belts are suggested. Wind direction and velocities have significant influence on crop growth both mechanically as well as physiologically. Mechanically effects on flower pollination, seed dispersal, tearing of leaves, lodging of plants, fruit drop, and uprooting of plants. Same like
physiological effects like transpiration increase, plant desiccation, reduce plant height because of
reduction in cell elongation.


It is very rare in Maharashtra, in northern India the fruit crops are greatly affected by hail. They cause shedding of young fruits and flowers while maturing fruits become almost unmarketable.


The sunlight is found to affect the quality of the horticulture crops like fruits exposed to light are found better in quality as compared to those receiving loss sunlight. This is because of more amounts of carbohydrates prepared in the leaves.

Eg. In Mandarin it has been observed that the fruits borne on the upper half of the tress and consequently receiving more light are richer in vitamin C content and also more sugars as compared to fruits on the lower half of the trees. 

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