Tillage effects on soil properties, crop responses and root density of sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum)

  • Rafael Grasso Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), Estación Experimental INIA Salto Grande, Camino al Terrible s/n, 50000 Salto
  • M. Teresa Peña-Fleitas University of Almería, Dept. Agronomy, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada, 04120 Almería
  • Marisa Gallardo University of Almería, Dept. Agronomy, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada, 04120 Almería CIAIMBITAL Research Centre for Mediterranean Intensive Agrosystems and Agrifood Biotechnology, University of Almería, La Cañada, 04120 Almería
  • Rodney B. Thompson University of Almería, Dept. Agronomy, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada, 04120 Almería CIAIMBITAL Research Centre for Mediterranean Intensive Agrosystems and Agrifood Biotechnology, University of Almería, La Cañada, 04120 Almería
  • Francisco M. Padilla University of Almería, Dept. Agronomy, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, La Cañada, 04120 Almería CIAIMBITAL Research Centre for Mediterranean Intensive Agrosystems and Agrifood Biotechnology, University of Almería, La Cañada, 04120 Almería
Keywords: bulk density, drainage, soil compaction, soil layer, soil matric potential, vegetable crops


Aim of study: Soil compaction causes an increase in bulk density, resistance to penetration, low diffusion of oxygen and water in the soil. Tillage is one of the techniques to alleviate compaction. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effects of tillage on sweet pepper grown in greenhouse soil.

Area of study: The experimental work was conducted in a plastic greenhouse at the Experimental Station of the University of Almería (SE Spain).

Material and methods: The soil was ploughed with a single pass with ripper to 15 cm depth and with rotavator to 10 cm depth. The control treatment was soil untilled. Crop dry matter production and root length growth and density of sweet pepper were evaluated, in addition to soil characteristics such as bulk density, resistance to penetration and soil matric potential.

Main results: Tillage reduced soil bulk density from 1.70 to 1.60 kg L-1 in the 10-40 cm of soil depth. There was a notable reduction in irrigation (12%), total N applied (13%), drainage (91%) and N leaching (95%) in the tillage treatment. However, tillage did not improve significantly crop dry matter production and yield. The absence of tillage effect is possible due to a slight reduction in the bulk density of the soil.

Research highlights: The tillage treatment produced a notable reduction in irrigation, total N applied, drainage and N leaching when compared to the control.


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How to Cite
GrassoR., Peña-FleitasM. T., GallardoM., ThompsonR. B., & PadillaF. M. (2021). Tillage effects on soil properties, crop responses and root density of sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum). Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 19(2), e0902. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2021192-17004
Plant production (Field and horticultural crops)