Vol.4, No.9, 491-498 (2013) Agricultural Sciences
Nutrimental diagnosis of avocado (Persea
americana Mill.) “Haas”, soil fertility and water
quality in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Hector Sotelo-Nava1, Oscar Gabriel Villegas-Torres1, Martha Lilia Domínguez-Patiño2,
Francisco Perdomo-Roldán1, Elías Hernández Castro3*, Agustín Da mián Nava3,
Margarita Ramos García1
1Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Mexico
2Facultad de Ciencias Químicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Mexico
3Unidad Academica de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Ambientales, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Iguala, Mexico;
*Corresponding Author: ehernandezcastro@yahoo.com.mx
Received 14 June 2013; revised 15 July 2013; accepted 10 August 2013
Copyright © 2013 Hector Sotelo-Nava et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Li-
cense, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
In two contrasting agric ultural ecohabitats (agro-
habitats) in the avocado production area in the
municipality of Cuernavaca, Morelos, an analy-
sis of nutrimental status, soil fertility and wat-
er quality was conducted to measure soil fer-
tility levels and to determine the nutrimental
state of the trees. The “Hass” variety avocado
groves studied had an average age of 8 years;
the first grove was planted in an acrisol soil
(1700 to 1900 meters above mean sea level
[mamsl]); the second, in an andosol soil (1200
to 1700 mamsl). In each agrohabitat, tests were
performed to determine the soil’s physical and
chemical charac t eristics. The physical and che-
mical characteristics of the soils of this zone
differ as do the nutrimental states of the avo-
cado trees in the two agrohabitats. The trees
showed excessive concentration of Ca, Fe, S,
Z and Mg. The indices of Deviation from Op-
timal Percentage (DOP) in the two agrohabi-
tats showed different nutrimental requirements;
nevertheless, they were low and very near to
zero, 14.218 and 13.350 respectively. The water
used for the agricultural irrigation was low in
salinity and sodium content and thus may be
used for the agricultural irrigation without re-
Keywords: Avocado; Nutrimental Imbalance Index;
Diagnosis; Nutrimental Status; Nutrients
The world production of avocado (Persea americana
Mill.) var. Hass, is estimated as 3.8 million tons annually,
produced on a surface area of 436,280 ha. which is dis-
tributed in more than 65 countries, of which 64% are
located in the Americas and the remaining 36% in other
continents [1]. Mexico is considered the world's principal
producer of avocado, providing 43% of the world pro-
duction [2]. Of the 28 avocado producer states in Mexico,
the principal ones are Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit,
Puebla, Mexico (the state), Guerrero and Jalisco, which
together account for 95% of the planted surface and 97%
of the produced tonnage. Morelos occupies the fourth
place as regards cultivated surface and production vol-
ume [3]. This market fruit species is the most important
one in the state of Morelos, representing a cultivated
surface of 3348 ha., 1580 producers and an average yield
of 9.6 t·ha1 [4], distributed in 13 municipalities, of
which the most important are: Ocuituco (43.51%), Tetela
del Volcán (27.53%), Tlalnepantla (6.69%) and Cuer-
navaca (3.58%). The production is grown under condi-
tions of rainfall and irrigation, the latter on a much re-
duced surface area, highlighting in both modalities the
scarce technical methods that affect the productivity and
quality of the avocado fruit, above all the nutrimental
aspect. Sixty percent of the avocados cultivated in the
state (entity) are native varieties; the rest are improved
varieties (Haas and Fuerte). These varieties are grown in
family groves or commercial operations [3]. The Mexi-
can Service for Agricultural Food Production and Fishery
Information (Servicio de Información Agroalimentaria y
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
H. Sotelo-Nava et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 49 1-498
Pesquera, SIAP) [5] reports a production of 25,390 t,
with an average yield of 10 t·ha1, a price of $10.92 per
ton, and value of production of 227 million pesos.
Despite the importance of this crop in the state of Mo-
relos, reliable scientific-technical information is lacking
on the quality and quantity of irrigation water. Further-
more, studies on soil fertility and the nutrimental status
of the trees themselves are few in numbers. Various in-
vestigations have shown the importance of these foliar
nutrimental indices for the optimal fruit production [6],
on top of the influence of soil type and climate, the nutri-
tional status of the tree [7], the effect of the soil moisture
upon nutrients’ availability and nutrimental condition of
the tree [8] since the soil’s physical characteristics influ-
ence the water-air ratios of the soil and therefore the
growth of roots that translate into a larger biomass of the
aerial parts of the plant. Although soil origin affects the
concentrations of nutrients in the different tissues of the
plant, the absorption of nutrients should be in large
measure more important to the plant’s biomass [9].
In regard to this type of studies, Salazar-Garcia and
Lascano-Ferrat [6], in research done in Nayarit, related
that the majority of the groves under rainfall and medium
irrigation would contain levels of potassium (K), boron
(B), and sulfur (S) below normal, levels of nitrogen (N)
near the lower limit of normal and levels of phosphorus
(P), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), maganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn)
at normal. While in the Purepecha region of Michoacan,
they reported that the diagnostics of soil fertility showed
strongly acidic pH, low to very low levels of organic
material, P, Mn and inorganic N, high to very high con-
centrations of Cu, Fe, K, Ca, B, and Zn, and medium
levels of magnesium (Mg), while for the leaf nutrimental
concentration levels, the order from higher to lower was
as follows: Ca > N > K > Mg > P > B > Mn > Fe > Zn >
Cu. That is to say that the foliage accumulates higher
levels of Ca, N and K, with respect to Mg and P, and that
the accumulation of Mn and Fe are higher in respect to
Zn and Cu [10]. The present management of fertilization
in the region is done in an empirical manner. The lack of
a nutrimental diagnostic that permits knowing the neces-
sity of fertilization provides the objective of the present
effort to determine the nutrimental status of the avocado
trees, soil fertility and irrigation water quality.
The present investigation was conducted in the mu-
nicipality/county of Cuernavaca, Morelos, located geo-
graphically at latitude 18˚55N and longitude 99˚14W,
and with an average elevation of 1480 meters above
mean sea level (mamsl). The municipality is bordered to
the north by the Huitzilac municipality, to the south by
Jiutepec and Emiliano Zapata, on the east by Jiutepec
and Tepoztlán and on the west by the state of México. In
Morelos, there are two well-defined harvest periods for
Hass avocados. The first, from October to March, and the
second, from June to August, represent 70% and 30% of
the production respectively [11].
To accomplish the studies of soil fertility and arboreal
nutrimental state in the product zone of the municipality
of Cuernavaca, Morelos that covers an area of 210 ha.,
two active agricultural ecohabitats (or preferably agro-
habitats) were selected on the basis of climate, soil and
physiography [12]. In each agricultural habitat or agro-
habitat, a representative grove of Hass avocados was
selected, taking into account grove age (8 years), man-
agement and irrigation use. Sample taking, analysis and
interpretation of the soil results followed the guidelines
of NOM-021-SEMARNAT-2000 [13]. The analyses for
soil fertility and their procedures were as follows: color,
by Munsell tables; texture, by the Bouyoucos method
[14]; apparent (bulk) density (Da), by the graduated
measuring cylinder method; true (particle) density (Dr),
by pycnometer; electrical conductivity (EC), by saturated
paste extract procedure [15]; activity of hydrogen ions
(pH) [16]; organic material (OM), by the Walkley-Black
method [14]; cation-exchange capacity (CEC), by perco-
lation method with ammonium acetate pH 7.0; total ni-
trogen (TN), by Kjedldahl method [14]; assimilable
phosphorus, by Bray P-I method [16]. The phosphorus
retention capacity was examined by Blakemore proce-
dure [17]; quantifications of assimilable Fe,Cu, Mn and
Zn, by atomic absorption spectrophotometry [18].
For the study of the nutrimental state of the trees in the
chosen groves, 14 trees (for each grove) were selected in
a random manner. From each tree, the following was
collected: 8 complete perfectly developed leaves (leaf
blade and petiole) which were mature but not senescent,
from terminal buds without fruiting that came from the
winter and spring vegetative growth spurts, healthy
(without physical and chemical damage nor affected by
infestations or diseases), from four to six months old,
from the middle part of the tree and from each one of the
four cardinal points. The leaves were placed in paper
bags and then in a portable ice cooler for their conserva-
tion, prior to their preparation and analysis. The leaf
sample, collected in February, 2013, was done in accor-
dance with the procedure indicated by Maldonado [19].
In the laboratory, the samples were washed with dis-
tilled water, dried at 70˚C for 48 hours in convection
ovens and afterwards grounded in a stainless steel mill
until passable through a 20 mesh [20]. The following
elements were measured: N, P, Ca and Mg; Fe, Cu, Mn
and Zn in an acid solution coming from wet digestion; S
and B, by ashing [16].
The interpretation of the leaf analysis of the avocado
cultivars from each of the agrohabitats was accomplished
taking in account the ranks of adequacy reported by
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
H. Sotelo-Nava et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 49 1-498 493
Rowley [21] and the Deviation from Optimal Percentage
(DOP), a tool to evaluate simultaneously the intensity
(level) and quality of nutrition [22].
In regard to the irrigation water quality, a sample was
taken from the supply source in each of the agrohabitats.
The following characteristics were determined: pH, elec-
trical conductivity (EC), concentrations of Ca2+, Mg2+,
Na+, K+, CO32-, 3,
, and B, as rec-
ommend by Richards [15]. 3
3.1. Characteristics of the Agrohabitats
In the community of Buenavista del Monte of the
Cuernavaca municipality, Morelos, two agrohabitats
were selected: III-C-2 and II-B-2. The first is character-
ized by a temperate subhumid climate [C(w2)], an un-
even (mountain) topography, acrisol soils, an altitude
between 1700 and 1900 mamsl, an annual average pre-
cipitation of 1200 mm and an annual average tempera-
ture of 18˚C. The second habitat has a semi-hot (warm)
climate [A(C)], uneven (hilly) topography, andosol soils,
an altitude between 1200 to 1700 mamsl, an annual av-
erage precipitation of 1000 mm and an annual average
temperature of 22˚C [12]: very similar conditions are
those reported for the state of Michoacan where an area
of 94045.28 ha. has been planted with avocado. These
conditions for Michoacan are altitudes between 1100 and
2900 mamsl, seven soil types, 10 climate types, average
temperatures between 16˚C and 24˚C, annual precipita-
tion between 800 and 1500 mm, and a predominant rela-
tive humidity of 90% [23]. On this manner, Wolsten-
holme mentions that the temperatures of 17.9˚C to
19.7˚C with stable temperate environmental conditions
free of stress are considered as the best conditions for the
production of the ‘Hass’ avocados while the temperature
limits for gaining a reasonable yield from this cultivar
are from 19.5˚C to 21˚C which corresponds to the hot
and humid subtropical climates [24].
3.2. Soil Fertility
The soils are acidic since the pH varied from 5.46 to
5.91. The electrical conductivity (EC) was from 0.53 to
0.82 dS·m1 at 25˚C. The cation-exchange capacity (CEC)
in Agrohabitat 1 was 20.33 cmol(+)·kg1; it was 15.00 in
Agrohabitat 2. The values encountered for organic
material (OM) were 3.77% for Agrohabitat 1; 2.42%, for
Agrohabitat 2. The total nitrogen (TN) had values of 0.11
mg· k g 1 in Agrohabitat 1; 6.72, in habitat 2. Assimilable
phosphorus (P) varied between 23.00 and 12.41 mg·kg1
in the two experimental sites respectively. K varied from
695.00 to 312.00 mg·kg1 in both agricultural habitats (1
and 2 respectively). With regard to Ca and Mg, the
concentrations obtained for Ca were 2585.00 mg·kg1 in
Agrohabitat 1 to 1887.97 in site 2; the concentrations for
Mg were 533.00 mg·kg1 in site 1; 424.20, in site 2. For
the micronutrients, the concentration of B varied from
0.77 to 0.35 mg·kg1 in both sites (agrohabitats) re-
spectively. In the case of Cu, Fe and Mn, the con-
centrations present in the soil of the two agrohabitats
were for Cu 0.90 mg·kg1 for area 1; 1.41 mg·kg1 for
area 2. The results for Fe were 11.93 and 20.82 mg·kg1
for area 1 and area 2 respectively. In the case of Mn, the
values were 12.33 and 34.34 mg·kg1 for area 1 and area
2 respectively (Table 1).
The obtained values in this effect coincide with the
reports by Alcalá [25], Campos [26], Cruz [27] and
Aguilar [28] that found pH values from 4.9 to 6.9, from
4.8 to 6.6, 5.4 and 5.3 in andisols for the Tarasca Mesa
and Tarasca Mountains of the state of Michoacan, the
volcanic mountain of Cofre de Perote and the Veracruz
Mountains respectively. The previous values indicate the
necessity to incorporate emendations to increase the pH
to bring the soils to the minimal required by the avocado
Electrical conductivity (EC) was low, meaning that the
soils do not have problems with salinity since the values
Ta b le 1. Fertility of the soils in the agrohabitats located in the
municipality Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
CharacteristicsAgrohabitat 1z Agrohabitat 2y Unit
Organic Material3.77 2.42 %
pH 5.91 5.46
Conductivity 0.53 0.82 dS·m1 at 25˚C
CEC 20.33 15.21 Cmol(+)·kg1
Depth 30 30 Cm
Apparent Density1.06 1.04 g·cm3
Total Nitrogen0.11 6.72
P 23.00 12.41
K 695.92 312.00
Ca 2585.00 1887.97
Mg 533.23 424.20
S 21.13 51.50
B 0.77 0.35
Cu 0.90 1.41
Fe 11.93 20.82
Mn 12.33 34.34
Na 271.14 331.00
Zn 2.10 1.44
Cl 0 0
zAgrohabitat 1: subhumid temperate climate [C(w2)], uneven (mountain)
topography and andolsol soils; yAgrohabitat 2: semi-hot climate [A(C)],
uneven (hilly) topography and andosol soils.
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H. Sotelo-Nava et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 49 1-498
are lower than 1.0 dS·m1 a 25˚C.
The cation-exchange capacity (CEC) in Agrohabitat 1
was medium, being in the range of 15 to 25 cmol(+)·kg1;
that measurement in Agrohabitat 2 was low, its value
(15.00) varying from 5 to 15 cmol(+)·kg1. This CEC
range is common in acrisol and andisol soils since, as
mentioned in Wada [29], this property varies from one
soil horizon to another and, in each one of those, depends
upon on the composition and type of minerals, the clay
and organic components. The values for organic material
were very low in the soils of the Agrohabitats 1 and 2
since the values were lower than 4. Those values are
similar to those found by Venegas [30] and Alcalá [25],
who found quantities of 0.70, 1.10, 1.90 and 2.0% for
soils in the localities of San Felipe, Paracho, Santa Cruz
and Puente Q in the Tarasca Mountains of Michoacan,
and 0.4 and 2.2% in the Tarasca plateau in the same state.
The total nitrogen (TN) was very low in both agro-
habitats, being 0.11 mg·kg1 in No. 1, and 6.72 in No. 2
since Vázquez [31] notes that the concentration of TN is
considered very low when the values are between 0 and
10 mg·kg1. Thus the soils are considered poor in inor-
ganic nitrogen in terms of the cultivation of avocado.
Nevertheless the quantities encountered in the present
investigation are higher than the reports for the andisol
soils of the Tarasca Mountains in the state of Michoacan
by Venegas [30] and Rodas [32], who note concentra-
tions from 0.08% to 0.07% and of 0.42% respectively.
Assimilable P fluctuates between 23.00 and 12.41
mg· k g 1 which is considered as medium since in the two
experimental sites the values do not exceed 30 mg·kg1.
The P concentrations in the soils of the two evaluated
agrohabitats are superior to those found by Venegas [30],
Rodas [32] and Aguilar [28] in various andisols of the
Tarasca Mountains (Michoacan) and the Veracruz Moun-
tains, where the values varied from 15.0 to 6.0 mg·kg1
in the former and were at 0.62 mg·kg1 in the later. The
elevated values for the retention of P, as well as the
availability of this element in andisols, have been attrib-
uted fundamentally to the content of aluminum (Al) and
Fe in the organic-mineral complex of humus-Al related
to allophane [28,29,33]. The P concentrations in the
evaluated sites probably are due, in part, to the contribu-
tion of organic fertilizers.
K (potassium) varied from 695.00 to 312.00 mg·kg1,
considered as very high (i.e., greater than 234 mg·kg1)
in both agrohabitats respectively. This factor indicates to
us that extra K is not required.
In regards to Ca and Mg, the concentrations obtained
were from 2585.00 to 1887.97 mg·kg1 for Ca and from
533.00 to 424.30 mg·kg1 for Mg. These values for Ca
are considered very high (greater than 2000 mg·kg1) for
Agrohabitat 1 (A1) and normal (i.e., between 1000 to
2000 mg·kg1) for Agrohabitat 2 (A2). In the case of Mg,
the value was high (greater than 360 mg·kg1) in the two
experimental sites (A1 and A2). These previously high-
lighted results indicate that Ca and Mg should be elimi-
nated in the fertilizer formulas to be applied in both
agrohabitats, being already in high doses in both cases.
3.3. Nutrimental Status of the “Hass”
Nitrogen (N) was found in concentrations of 3.015%
(A1) and 2.570% (A2) respectively. P was in quantities
of 1.126 and 1.101% in all the trees of Agrohabitat 1 and
Agrohabitat 2 respectively. The concentrations of K were
0.0 and 0.746% in A1 and A2 respectively. In the case of
Mg, the values were 0.410% (A1) and 0.542% (A2).
Nevertheless, Ca measurements were 1.064% for Agro-
habitat 1 and 0.542% for Agrohabitat 2. Those for S were
0.134% in Agrohabitat 1 and 0.183% in Agrohabitat 2.
Cooper (Cu) was found in the quantities 38.11 mg·kg1
in the trees of Agrohabitat 1 and 26.66 mg·kg1 in those
of Agrohabitat 2. For Zn, the values were 160.140
mg· k g 1 in A1 and 47.330 mg·kg1 in A2. Fe was en-
countered in values of 48.330 mg·kg1 in A1 and 48.33
mg· k g 1 in A2. For Cl, the values were 0.248 mg·kg1
and 0.195 mg·kg1 in Agrohabitats 1 and 2 respectively
(Table 2).
According to the index DOP, the trees of Agrohabitat 1
show the order of requirements S > Fe > Mg. In Agro-
habitat 2, the requirements are encountered in the fol-
lowing order: Ca > Fe > Mg > S > Zn > K.
The Nutrient Imbalance Index (NII) was 14.218 in
Agrohabitat 1 and 13.350 in Agrohabitat 2. The nutri-
mental condition of the “Hass” avocado trees in the two
Agrohabitats located in Cuernavaca, Morelos was deter-
mined on the basis of the concentration of the macro and
micro nutrients found in Table 2, the sufficiency range
given in Rowley [21] and nutrimental indices determined
by the Deviation from Optimal Percentage (DOP) pre-
sented in Table 3.
P was found in high quantities (1.126% and 1.101%)
in all the trees of Agrohabitats 1 and 2 respectively (the
standard for normal is from 0.35% to 0.74%). The excess
of this element is corroborated by the DOP index.
The trees of the “Hass” avocado groves exhibited dif-
ferent nutrimental states in the two agrohabitats. N was
encountered in a concentration of 2.650%. Following the
standard DOP, N is over the optimum in all the trees,
independently of the area of investigation.
According to the foliar chemical analysis, the concen-
trations of K (0.0 to 0.746) was low in Agrohabitat 1 and
normal in Agrohabitat 2; Mg levels (0.410 and 0.542 in
A1 and A2 respectively) were in the normal range of
sufficiency in the avocado trees of the two agrohabitat.
Nevertheless, Ca was normal (1.145) in Agrohabitat 1
and low in Agrohabitat 2 (the optimal range being 1.00%
to 3.00%). The sulfur levels were low in both agrohabitats
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H. Sotelo-Nava et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 49 1-498
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
Table 2. Nutrimental Status of the “Hass” avocado in each one of the agrohabitats studied in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Element Cultivars in Agrohabitat 1z Cultivars in Agrohábitat 2y Sufficiency Range (Rowley, 1992)
N (%) 3.015 2.570 1.6% to 2.20 %
P (%) 1.126 1.101 0.05% to 0.30 %
K (%) 0.000 0.746 0.35% to 2.9 %
Ca (%) 1.064 0.542 0.50% to 4.0 %
Mg (%) 0.410 0.242 0.15% to 1.0 %
S (%) 0.134 0.183 0.05% to 1.0 %
B (mg·kg1) 142.540 142.070 20 to 100 mg·litro1
Cu (mg·kg1) 38.114 26.684 3 to 16 mg·litro1
Fe (mg·kg1) 48.330 48.330 40 to 200 mg·litro1
Mn (mg·kg1) 302.015 595.650 15 to 500 mg·litro1
Zn (mg·kg1) 160.140 47.330
Cl (mg·kg1) 0.248 0.195 unknown
zAgrohabitat 1: subhumid temperate climate [C(w2)], uneven (mountain) topography and andosol soils; yAgrohabitat 2: semi-hot climate [A(C)], uneven (hilly)
topography andosol soils.
Table 3. Nutrimental Index by the Deviation from Optimum
Percentage in the cultivation of “Hass” avocado in the agro-
habitats located in Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.
Element Agrohabitat 1z Agrohabitat 2x
N 0.5968 0.3455
P 6.0375 5.8812
K 1.0000 0.4554
Ca 0.4680 0.7290
Mg 0.2115 0.5288
S 0.6650 0.5125
B 0.9000 0.8942
Cu 2.8100 1.6684
Fe .6133 0.6133
Zn 0.7793 0.4747
Cl 0 0
NIIw 14.2180 13.350
zAgrohabitat 1: subhumid temperate climate [C(w2)], uneven (mountain)
topography and andosol soils; yAgrohabitat 2: semi-hot climate [A(C)],
uneven (hilly) topography and andosol soils.
since the range varied from 0.134% to 0.183% and the
normal range would be from 0.05% to 0.19%.
Cu were encountered in quantities very above normal:
38.11 mg·kg1 in the trees of Agrohabitat 1 and 26.66
mg·kg1 in those of Agrohabitat 2, on the basis of high
ranges being greater than 16 mg·kg1. For Zn, the trend
was toward excess in Agrohabitat 1 with a value of 160
mg·kg1 and to a normal level in Agrohabitat 2 with a
value of 47.3 mg·kg1, if we start from the position that
the standard for us marks normal values as those going
from 30 to 150 mg·kg1.
Fe was encountered in the trees in low values in both
Agrohabitats 1 and 2, 48.33 mg·kg1 and 48.32 mg·kg1
respectively, compared to the optimal range of 50 to 200
For Cl, the range of sufficiency is not well known for
avocado. In this respect, Lemus [34] says the interval
from 2500 to 5000 mg·kg-1 corresponds to excessive
concentrations, which indicates that problems of toxic-
ity is not present in the avocado trees in the two agro-
habitats since their values were from 0.248 to 0.195
mg·kg1 respectively.
On the basis of the index DOP, the trees of Agrohabitat
1 show the requirement order S > Fe > Mg while the rest
of the nutrients are encountered in condition of excess. In
Agrohabitat 2, the deficiency of nutrients was greater
than in the previous case, the requirements being in the
following order: Ca > Fe > Mg > S > Zn > K.
The Nutrient Imbalance Index (NII) was greater in the
trees of Agrohabitat 1 (14.218), followed by those of
Agrohabitat 2 (13.350). Such indices are not too elevated.
Considering that the NII is correlated negatively with the
yield of the cultivars and positively with the susceptibil-
ity to attack by blights and diseases [35,36], it is to be
hoped that upon decreasing the said indices so they ap-
proach zero, the yield will increase in the avocado pro-
duction zone in Cuernavaca, Morelas.
3.4. Water Quality
The pH of the irrigation water of the Agrohabitats 1
(6.160) and 2 (5.970) is neutral, being in the range of
5.88 to 6.5. The alkalinity of the water is possibly due to
the joint effect of the concentration of bicarbonates with
the presence of sodium (Na), calcium (Ca) and magne-
sium (Mg). In this sense, Coras says that if the pH is
greater than 7, being between 7.5 and 8.5 approximately
denotes distinct content level of soluble salts, which in
H. Sotelo-Nava et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 49 1-498
Table 4. Irrigation water quality in the agrohabitats located in Cuernavaca, Morelos.
Agrohabitat pH CEw Ca2+ Mg2+ Na+ K
+ 2
Cl 2
A1z 6.160 0.042 0.080 0.041 0.331 0.000 0.000 0.100 0.200 0.020 0.000
A2y 5.970 0.090 0.330 0.149 0.349 0.028 0.003 0.500 0.200 0.010 0.000
zA1, subhumid temperate climate [C(w2)], uneven (mountain) topography and andosol soils; yA2, semi-hot climate [A(C)], uneven (hilly) topography and an-
dosol soils.
turn will be able to be influenced by the cation sodium,
which is alkaline in the extreme and induces the value of
pH toward higher figures above the limit 7 [37] (Table
The electrical conductivity (EC) of the water used for
the irrigation of the Agrohabitats 1 and 2 was encoun-
tered in the range of 0.10 to 0.25 dS·m1. According to
the standards of Riverside [37], the type of water for the
two agrohabitats is C2. Waters of type C2 are of medium
salinity, suitable for irrigation; in certain cases it may be
necessary to employ excessive water volumes and use
cultivars tolerant to salinity.
The sodium adsorption ratio was 0.331 for Agrohabitat
1 and 0.349 for Agrohabitat 2. According to the standards
of Riverside [38], the water used for agricultural irriga-
tion in the avocado region of Cuernavaca is of type S1:
with low sodium content, suitable for irrigation in the
majority of cases; nevertheless, problems with cultivars
very sensitive to sodium may appear.
The avocado being a species sensitive to the presence
of B in irrigation waters, the concentration should be less
than 0.33 mg·L1 [38]. In the region of Cuernavaca, it is
at 0 mg·L1, consequently there should be no problems
with this element.
The water for agricultural irrigation contained chloride
in concentrations of 7.09 meq·L1, which are considered
good [15].
The level of residual sodium carbonate is an indicator
of the danger of soil sodification, given that it takes into
account the precipitation of calcium and magnesium by
the carbonates and bicarbonates and in consequence the
drop in its antagonistic effect over sodium. The meas-
urements were 0.00 in both agrohabitats. Those values
being below 1.25 me·L1 indicate that the water quality is
good [39].
The chemical characteristics described above show
that available agricultural irrigation water in the munci-
pality of Cuernavaca, Morelos is of good quality and
may be used for the cultivation of avocado without
causing toxicities by some specific ion or leading to sa-
linity in the soil. Furthermore if done, a good program of
irrigation may control tree growth. Little salt accumula-
tion is produced when the irrigation intervals are long
since the large quantities of water supplied in each irriga-
tion leaches the salt steadily [40].
Based on the results obtained in this study, the fol-
lowing may be concluded:
The diagnosis of soil fertility in the study area indi-
cated that, in the two agrohabitants, the pH is slightly
acidic and the levels of organic material content are low
to very low (2.42%).
The physical characteristics and soil fertility of the
two agrohabitats in which the Hass avocado is cultivated
in the municipality of Cuernavaca are appropriate for this
cultivation. However, it is found that the soil fertility and
nutrimental status of the “Hass” avocado were different
in those two agrohabitats. This variation should be con-
sidered in determining the more adequate fertilization
dosage to nourish the avocado cultivars in each one of
the encountered agrohabitats. With this consideration,
certain nutrimental problems, specifically nitrogen, may
be corrected.
The water available for agricultural use in each one of
the agrohabitats has the adequate chemical characteristics
for use in the irrigation of the avocado groves without
any restrictions. This area specifically permits relief irri-
gations being implemented with which, on one hand, the
stressing of plants can be avoided and, on the other hand,
a good program of fertilization especially in the dry sea-
son may be implemented which will give, as a result,
good production in the season (June-August) in which
the best prices are gained.
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