Coconut: Acid Sulphate Soils

The acid sulphate soils which are in the coconut areas in our Group of estates were mapped according to the soil identification key drawn up by Paramanathan (1981) and subsequently modified as per Table 1.

TABLE 1. KEY TO IDENTIFICATION OF SOILS ON MARINE, ESTUARINE AND BRACKISH WATER DEPOSITS
(AFTER PARAMANATHAN)

Horizonation and Nature of Subsoil

A/C or O/A/CSulfidic Materials

A/B/C 
Sulfuric Horizon

A/B/C 
Cambic

A/B/C 
Cambic

A/B/C 
Cambic

A/BC/C or A/C or O/A/C Non-Sulfidic Materials

Depth to sulfuric Horizon/C Horizon

High ‘n’ value

Low ‘n’ value

50 cm

100 cm

100 cm

50-100 cm

50 cm

High ‘n’ value

Low ‘n’ value

Colour Group

Yellow (Jarosite)

Olive

Brown

Red

Olive

Brown

Red

Olive

Brown

Red

Properties of subsoil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matrix light-gray coarse angular blocky sticky few pieces of woods

mKranji*

mMerbok

mparit
Botak 2

mTongkang

mBernam

mPerepat

mParit Botak(B)

e Briah

mKuala Perlis 1

bTelok 2

mKangkong

eKechai Kundor

eChengai

mSedaka

mRotan

mTebengau

mSerong

mBakau

eCarey

mKundor

eKangar

mKuala Kedah

mPiandang

fTualang

fIdris

Matrix bron fine/ medium subangular blocky, friable many pieces of wood

Linau

bSedu2

bJawa

bSelangor

bSabrang

bSerkat

blinau
(B)

bGuar1

NOTES:
m –
Marine deposit
* –
Conductivity high (>2.0 mm nos/cm) with 50 cm depth
e –
Estuarine deposit
* –
Marine clay (C) with 50 cm
b –
Brackish water deposit
2 –
Marine clay between 50-100 cm
f –
Fluviatile, often riverine over marine

Our experience with coconuts in the acid sulphate areas and other coastal soil areas is limited to the soil series shown in Table 2.

TABLE 2. DISTRIBUTION OF SOILS IN COCONUT AREAS IN HRU ADVISORY SERVICES (1983)
Horizonation

A/B/C

A/B/C

A/B/C

Nature of subsoil

Sulfuric

Cambic

Cambic

Colour group

Yellow

Brown

Brown

Depth (cm) to sulfuric or C horizon

50

100

100

100

100

50-100

50-100

Soil Series

SEDU

JAWA

BERNAM

BRIAH

SELANGOR

PEREPAT

SABRANG

Area (ha)

252

86

617

718

97

200

204

No. of estates

2

2

1

3

3

1

2

Out of 2174 ha of coconuts (mostly underplanted with cocoa), only 338 ha (15 per cent) are on acid sulphate soils of the Sedu and Java Series.

The coconut areas on acid sulphate soils are located in the Bagan Serai (Estate 1) district, and as discussed later, the problem is compounded by difficulties in water management and the markedly seasonal rainfall pattern.

A comparison of the coconuts and cocoa grown on acid sulphate soils in this estate and comparable areas on two other estates on Sabrang and Briah series (Estate 2 in Kuala Kurau district) and on Bernam/Selangor series (Estate 3 in Sabak Bernam district) is given in this paper.

Rainfall patterns for the estates are shown in Appendix 1.

APPENDIX 1. RAINFALL PATTERNS (1971 – 1982) IN COCONUT ESTATES

Month

 

Estate 1 Bagan Serai

Estate 2 Kuala Kurau

Estate 3 Sabak Bernam

Mean

Years
<100 mm

Mean

Years
<100 mm

Mean

Years 
<100 mm

January

71

8

59

10

164

5

February

114

4

113

6

150

3

March

104

6

103

7

131

4

April

241

2

224

2

231

2

May

156

4

142

2

226

2

June

116

5

129

4

109

6

July

125

6

138

6

162

5

August

130

5

139

6

140

3

September

239

2

271

1

220

2

October

304

0

320

0

317

1

November

194

3

186

3

310

0

December

131

4

121

5

257

2

Total

1925 mm

 

1945 mm

 

2417 mm

 


Reference
 

Chew P.S., Kee K.K. and Ooi L.H. 1984. Management of coconuts and cocoa on acid sulphate soils. The Planter. Incorporated Society of Planters, Kuala Lumpur 60 (704) : 483-498.

Note: The full list of references quoted in this article is available from the above paper.

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