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Gerbera: Soil fertility and plant nutrition

Rokolhuii Keditsu


Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii Bolus ex. Hook) belonging to family Asteraceae is animportant cut flower, native to tropical Asia and Africa.  Thumping success of Gerbera under protectedconditions has extensively discouraged growers to raise this crop under openfield conditions, with the result, most of the studies have accrued out underprotected conditions.  The cut flowerslike Gerbera is intensively cultivated, and substantial amounts of nutrientsare anticipated to be removed with every harvest, The definitive role of soil-climatespecific agro-techniques is being increasingly explored to sustain the flowerproduction coupled with quality as an important flower trade attribute.  Improvisation in of flower yield alongwithquality makes this maiden but important task, all the more challenging,especially in the context of vagaries associated with open fieldconditions.  Maintaining water-nutrientsynergy through an integrated nutrient supply system across crop phenophases is considered as the most important aspectof Gerbera cultivation, and if addressed to their potential, is  supposed to bring some discernible changes inthe overall scenario of Gerbera cultivation under open field conditions. Inthis context, DRIS-based nutrient diagnostics have provided some definitivebreakthroughs.  Unfortunately, soil as afinite source of nutrients has seldom been attempted to engineer throughexogenous application of both organic manures (also carries beneficialmicrobes, and can function as effective bioinoculants) and inorganicfertilizers in such a way that it sustains the crop nutrient demand soeffectively, keeping any potential possibility of nutrient mining at no risk.  This is where, the concept like integratednutrient management finds its utmost intervention.  The benefits of such technique can onlyharvest when all other growing conditions are maintained within optimumrequirements.


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