, Volume 70, Issue 11, pp 1433–1438 | Cite as

Hardpan in skeletal soils: Statistical approach to determine its depth in a cherry orchard plot

  • Ramon JosaEmail author
  • Marta Ginovart
  • Maria Teresa Mas
  • Antoni M. C. Verdú


Skeletal soils are not suitable for agriculture, and often are allocated to marginal uses such as cherry orchards for timber production. These require some agricultural practices (irrigation, soil tillage or weed control) which can contribute to the development of a hardpan. Compacted layers can adversely affect timber production, so subsoiling works are required. This study examined the effect of six years of tillage on hardpan formation in a skeletal soil by means of mechanical impedance measurements with a dynamic penetrometer cone (dynamic cone test), a method that is quick and easy to use, but can suffer from interference by stones. Mechanical impedances along the soil profile were measured in four plots differing in tillage (with or without) and drip irrigation (with or without) treatments. Exploratory data analysis together with statistical inference techniques related to linear general models were applied. The presence of a transitional layer on top of the hardpan is suggested in the non-tilled plot and soil depth that can be explored easily by roots has increased by 20 cm.

Key words

general linear models irrigation no-tillage stony soil tillage timber production 


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This work was financially supported by the Spanish Government under the MICINN - AGL2010–2012 project (sub-program AGR). The authors are grateful to Dr Núria Cañameras for facilitating access to the cone penetrometer, and thank the anonymous reviewers for valuable useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Slovak Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramon Josa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marta Ginovart
    • 2
  • Maria Teresa Mas
    • 1
  • Antoni M. C. Verdú
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agri-Food Engineering and BiotechnologyUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaCastelldefels, BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied Mathematics IIIUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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