Characteristics of Soil Organic Carbon, Total Nitrogen, and C/N Ratio in Chinese Apple Orchards


Soil organic carbon and nitrogen are used as indexes of soil quality assessment and sustainable land use management. At the same time, soil C/N ratio is a sensitive indicator of soil quality and for assessing the carbon and nitrogen nutrition balance of soils. We studied the characteristics of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen by investigating a large number of apple orchards in major apple production areas in China. High apple orchard soil organic carbon content was observed in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, and Yunnan, whereas low content was found in the provinces of Shandong, Henan, Hebei, and Shaanxi, with the values ranging between 6.44 and 7.76 g·kg-1. Similar to soil organic carbon, soil total nitrogen content also exhibited obvious differences in the 12 major apple producing provinces. Shandong apple orchard soil had the highest total nitrogen content (1.26 g·kg-1), followed by Beijing (1.23 g·kg-1). No significant difference was noted between these two regions, but their total nitrogen content was significantly higher than the other nine provinces, excluding Yunnan. The soil total nitrogen content for Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Henan, and Gansu was between 0.87 and 1.03 g·kg-1, which was significantly lower than that in Shandong and Beijing, but significantly higher than that in Liaoning, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. Six provinces exhibited apple orchard soil C/N ratio higher than 10, including Heilongjiang (15.42), Xinjiang (13.38), Ningxia (14.45), Liaoning (12.24), Yunnan (11.03), and Gansu (10.63). The soil C/N ratio was below 10 in the remaining six provinces, in which the highest was found in Shaanxi (9.47), followed by Beijing (8.98), Henan (7.99), and Shanxi (7.62), and the lowest was found in Hebei (6.80) and Shandong (6.05). Therefore, the improvement of soil organic carbon should be given more attention to increase the steady growth of soil C/N ratio.

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S. Ge, H. Xu, M. Ji and Y. Jiang, "Characteristics of Soil Organic Carbon, Total Nitrogen, and C/N Ratio in Chinese Apple Orchards," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 3 No. 5, 2013, pp. 213-217. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2013.35025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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