Organic orchard production improves soil biodiversity and soil nutrient content

Photo credit: A_Peach Photo credit: A_Peach

A recent study conducted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and published in the journal Organic Agriculture sampled soils and plant material from organic and conventional organic and peach orchards to compare microbial diversity of soils and nutrient concentrations in soils and plant tissue. Soils from organic orchards were found to have more microbes, more organic matter, and more of the important nutrients phosphorus and sulfur than conventional soils. Additionally, plant material collected from peach and apple trees in organic orchards were found to have more of the nutrients phosphorus and copper. “Organic fruit production practices harbored both greater microbial activity and higher concentrations of some plant and soil nutrients, and are anticipated to promote better soil health and productivity than conventional practices,” the authors state.