Root growth, yield and mineral concentration of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. under different fertilization treatments
Keywords:Depth of the fertilizer application; Nutrient uptake; Manure application.
The main objective of this study was to determine the effect of conditions with manure and mineral
fertilizing applications with respect to prickly pear cactus production and root growth. The
experiment was conducted during 18 months using two cow manure doses (100 and 300 t ha-1),
three depth application (0-18, 18-36 and 36-54 cm), and a control treatment. The experiment was
established under complete randomized block design with four replications and response variables
of yield and roots characteristics were evaluated. The results showed that the higher root abundance
in prickly pear cactus was in the first stratum (0-18 cm) where found the 96% of the total root mass,
followed by the second stratum (18-36 cm) with 3% of root mass. The effect of root development
with the cladodes yield was inversely proportional. The cladodes yield, dry matter production and
the cladodes number showed the higher values under 100 t ha-1 of manure in the first stratum (0-18
cm). The mineral content of the cladodes showed similar values between the fertilizer treatments
and control; however, the concentration of phosphorus and microelements was higher in the plants
under manure treatments in the first stratum. In general terms, the application of manure increased
the organic matter and mineral content of the soils at the end of the present experiment.