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Correlations of Soil Fungi, Soil Structure and Tree Vigour on an Apple Orchard with Replant Soil

Cavael, Ulrike; Tost, Philipp; Diehl, Katharina; Büks, Frederick; Lentzsch, Peter

FG Bodenkunde

The soil-borne apple replant disease (ARD) is caused by biotic agents and affected by abiotic properties. There is evidence for the interrelation of the soil fungal population and soil aggregate structure. The aim of this study conducted between March and October 2020 on an orchard in north-east Germany was to detect the correlations of soil fungal density, soil structure and tree vigour under replant conditions in a series of time intervals. By using the replant system as the subject matter of investigation, we found that replanting had an impact on the increase of soil fungal DNA, which correlated with a mass decrease of large macro-aggregates and an increase of small macro- and large micro-aggregates in the late summer. Increased proportions of water-stable aggregates (WS) with binding forces ≤ 50 J mL−1, decreased proportions of WS > 100 J mL−1 and a decrease of the mean weight diameter of aggregates (MWD) emphasised a reduction of aggregate stability in replant soils. Correlation analyses highlighted interactions between replant-sensitive soil fungi (Alternaria-group), the loss of soil structure and suppressed tree vigour, which become obvious only at specific time intervals.