Water availability and soil salinity limit crop productivity in arid and semiarid regions such as Oman. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of amending a saline plant root zone soil with a non-saline sandy loam soil of organic and inorganic fertilizers, and of different placement methods on growth and yield of banana (Musa AAA cv. 'Malindi'). A total of 24 treatments comprising six fertilizer amendments, two soil types and two different application methods were tested. The amendments included four organic amendments versus un-composted dairy cow manure (FDM); composted dairy cow manure (CDM); CDM + 10% date palm straw (CDM + 10%DPS) by weight, and CDM + 30% date palm straw (CDM + 30% DPS) and two inorganic amendments (NPK and NPK plus foliar micronutrient spray, NPK+micro). The results revealed that neither soil amendments, fertilizer applications methods nor fertilizer composition significantly affected pseudostem height or girth, or leaf area. There was significant difference (P<0.05) in the number of leaves at flowering between Saline-Ring-NPK plants (8.2 leaves/plant) and Amended-Mixed-NPK and Amended-Ring-NPK+micro plants (14.0 and 13.8 leaves/plant, respectively). Amended-Ring-NPK+micro was significantly early flowering (267 days) compared to the other treatments. Amended-Ring-NPK+micro plants were harvested significantly earlier (in 339 days) than plants on saline soil. Amended-Ring-NPK+micro produced significantly higher average bunch fresh weight (9.5 kg/bunch/cycle) than all other treatments followed by Amended-Mixed-NPK+micro (5.9 kg/bunch/cycle).
Key words: Dwarf cavendish, amendments, application methods, manure types, mineral fertilizers, yield components.
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