Effects of blended fertilizers on soil chemical properties of mature tea fields in Kenya

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Kibet Sitienei Hellen W. Kamiri Gilbert M. Nduru David M. Kamau

Abstract

Kenya tea industry have focused predominantly on the use of compound NPK fertilizers. These fertilizers cannot be easily manipulated for specific soils and tea clones. In this respect, two fertilizer blends contaning NPKS 25:5:5:4+9Ca+2.6Mg and NPKS 23:5:5:4 +10Ca+3Mg with trace elements have been produced commercially in the Country. However, their application rates that would result in optimal nutrients level are lacking. This is the knowledge gap that this study sought to address. Therefore, the fertilizer blends were assessed for their effects on soil chemical properties at different rate in two sites i.e. Timbilil Estate in Kericho and Kagochi farm in Nyeri. The sites were selected purposefully, one in the eastern and the other in the western tea growing areas. Randomized complete block design (RCBD) were used to select 36 trial plots in the two areas which were treated with two fertilizer blends and standard NPK NPK 26:5:5 as control, and four fertilizer application rates (0 -control, 75, 150, and 225 kg N ha-1 yr-1). The trial was replicated three times. Soil samples were collected and analyzed for soil nutrient levels. The data were then subjected to the analysis of variance (ANOVA) using Mstat C computer software package. Soil acidity decreased significantly (P<0.05) down the profile (3.08, 4.02 and 4.08) in Kagochi. Soil available Ca and Mg levels were significantly (P<0.05) higher in the upper depth (Ca were 652 and 412 while Mg were 77 and 62 for Timbilil and Kagochi, respectively) in both sites then decreased down the profile. This study has shown that supplementing the soil applied NPK fertilizers with calcium, magnesium and micronutrients resulted in improved soil quality.

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Sitienei, K., Kamiri, H., Nduru, G., & Kamau, D. (2018). Effects of blended fertilizers on soil chemical properties of mature tea fields in Kenya. Advances in Agricultural Science, 6(4), 85-98. Retrieved from http://aaasjournal.org/submission/index.php/aaas/article/view/102
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