Effect of residual sodium carbonate in irrigation water on the soil sodication and yield of palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinni) and lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)

Arun Prasad; Dinesh Kumar; Singh, D.V.

Agricultural Water Management 50(3): 161-172


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-3774
DOI: 10.1016/s0378-3774(01)00103-2
Accession: 003421022

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The effects of residual sodium carbonate (RSC) in irrigation water on soil sodication and yield and cation composition of palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) and lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) were studied in the open bottom reinforced concrete cemented (RCC) cylindrical barrels embedded in the field and filled with sandy loam soils during 1993-95 at the experimental farm of the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. The results indicated that the increasing RSC in irrigation water significantly increased the pH, electrolyte conductivity (ECe) and SARe of the soil and, hence, considerably decreased the herb and oil yield of both the palmarosa and lemongrass. The reduction in total herb yield was 14.5, 18.3, 28.8 and 32.0% in palmarosa and 38.6, 46.0, 57.7 and 62.6% in the lemongrass over control at 4.0, 8.0, 12.0 and 16.0 meq/litre of RSC, respectively. The total oil yield of palmarosa increased by 22.6% with the increase in RSC from 2.0 (control) to 4.0 meq/litre and further increase in RSC decreased the oil yield by 13.0, 22.4 and 22.9% over control at 8, 12 and 16 meq/litre of RSC, respectively. The total oil yield of lemongrass was decreased by 27.0, 39.4, 47.7 and 50.8% over control at 4, 8, 12 and 16 meq/litre, respectively. The concentration of Na increased significantly and K and Ca decreased with increase in RSC of irrigation water in vegetative tissues of both species. The lemongrass accumulates significantly greater amount of Na in shoot tissues as compared to palmarosa and it failed to survive at high RSC after 21 months of transplanting. The results suggests that palmarosa is more tolerant to irrigation water sodicity than the lemongrass.