Effect of liming acid soils on physico-chemical characteristics of the soils and coffee seedling vigor in Mbozi District, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Soil acidity is one of the most important soil factors affecting crop growth and ultimately yield and profitability of coffee in Mbozi District Tanzania. Soils tend to be naturally acidic in areas where rainfall is sufficient to cause substantial leaching of basic ions such as calcium and magnesium, which are replaced by hydrogen ions. Most soils in Mbozi District are acidic due to high rainfall and/or the use of soil acidifying fertilizers over a long period of time. Low soil pH causes aluminium and manganese toxicities while calcium, phosphorus and magnesium become deficient. In order to counteract the situation, liming is inevitable. This study was conducted on Ultisols of Mbimba sub- station, located in Mlowo Ward, Mbozi District, Songwe Region Tanzania. The study area is located within latitudes 9 0 05’35.97”S and 9 0 05’13.10”E and longitudes 32 0 57’14.51”E and 32 0 57’22.32”E. The area experiences mean annual rainfall ranging between 1 000 and 1 500 mm with a monomodal distribution pattern. The study aimed at increasing soil productivity for coffee through the use of agricultural lime and ultimately improve livelihoods of the coffee farmers in Mbozi District. Different levels of dolomite lime at 0 kgha -1 , 1 000 kgha -1 , 2 000 kgha -1 and 2 500 kgha -1 were used whereby NPK (22.6.12 +3S) at 150 kgha -1 was used at basal application rate. The field layout was set in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The results indicated that lime at 1 000 kgha -1 and 2 000 kgha -1 increased soil pH between 0.22 and 0.97 units and the increase of P was significant at P<0.001. Lime applied at a rate of 2 000 kgha -1 increased available P concentration by 5.73 - 7.28 mgkg -1 while exchangeable Potassium concentration increased by 0.14 - 6.01mgkg -1 in all 3 levels of lime and K increase was significant at P = 0.05. Soil Ca and Mg increased between 0.19 and 6.82 cmol(+)kg -1 and 0.54 - 1.98 cmol(+)kg -1 respectively after application of dolomitic lime. Plant height increased between 60.4 and 67.1 cm, branches between 29-31, internodes between 23 and 27, canopy width between 74.7 and 79.5cm and stem girth between 8.2 and 9cm. A very strong positive correlation was found between lime and Mg (R 2 = 0.8643), moderate positive correlation between lime and N (R 2 = 0.4453), between lime and P (R 2 = 0.7064), between lime and K (R 2 = 0.4043), between lime and Ca (R 2 = 0.5288) while weak correlation between lime and Na (R 2 = 0.2007. Correlation value of < 0.4 is considered as weak, 0.4 - 0.8 moderate correlation and 0.8˃ as very strong correlation. Thus, the study recommends the use of 2 000 kgha -1 of CaMg(CO 3 ) 2 lime to be used by Mbimba Mbozi farmers in coffee farms.


A Dissertation 2019


Acid soils, Physico-chemical, Coffee seedling vigor, Mbozi District, Tanzania