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Soil

 
Soil is the end product of the parent material resulting from the consistent influence of climate, topography and the natural vegetation over a long period of time. In Punjab the soil characteristics are influenced to a very limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences.

Punjab can be divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types.

1. South-Western Punjab

This region covers the tehsils of Fazilka, Muktsar, Bhatinda, Mansa and parts of Ferozepur which border Haryana and Rajasthan states in the south-west. The soil is predominantly calcareous, developed under hot and arid to semi-arid conditions. The pH value ranges from 7.8 to 8.5 which shows that the soil is normal in reaction. Grey and red desert, calsisol, regosol and alluvial soils are found in this zone. The soil of south-western Punjab can further be sub-divided into two categories.

a) Desert Soil: The soil covers Fazilka tehsil of Ferozepur district and south-western fringes of Muktsar tehsil of Faridkot district. The soil is deficient in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Wind erosion is a serious problem specially during the hot summer.

b) Sierozem Soil: This soil is found in Bhatinda district and Faridkot and Muktsar tehsils of Faridkot and most parts of Ferozepur tehsil. The texture of the soil is sandy loan to silt. The soil is deficient in nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. In some irrigated tracts, alkalinity and salinity pose a problem. Wind erosion is again a serious matter in areas where this soil group is predominant.

2. Central Punjab

The soil of this zone has developed under semi-arid condition. The soil is sandy loam to clayey with normal reaction (pH from 7.8 to 8.5). The soil covers the districts of Sangrur, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Amristar, parts of Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and fringes of Kharar tehsil of Ropar district. Problem of alkalinity and Salinity is quite accute, especially  in districts of Amristar, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur and Patiala. The soil of the central zone, generally recognised as alluvial, falls into tow categories.

a) Arid And Brown Soil: This soil is found in Amristar district (except in the north-eastern half of the Amristar tehsil) in most of Sutlanpur tehsil of Kapurthala, Zira and northern parts of Ferozepur, Moga, Rampur tehsil of Bhatinda, Barnala, Sangrur and Sunam tehsils of Sangrur district and Samana tehsil of Patiala district. The texture is sandy-loam and the fertility is from medium to high. The soil is calcareous and lacks nitrogen but contains a fair amount of phosphorous and potash.

b) Tropical Arid Brown Soil: This soil covers parts of Amristar, the south-western half of Gurdaspur tehsil, Batala tehsil, Kapurthala district except Sultanpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and the Malerkotla tehsil of Sangrur district. Some parts in the south-west of Ropar district also fall in the zone. The soil is deficient in nitrogen, potash and phosphorus.

Water-logging, alkalinity and salinity pose serious problems. The texture of the soil is sandy loam in south-western half and in the flood plains of the rivers but in the north-western half the texture becomes clayey. The fertility of the soil varies from medium to high.

3. Eatern Punjab

The soil has developed in the sub-humid foothill areas bordering Himachal Pradesh covering eastern parts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Ropar and north-eastern fringes of Patiala district. Because of the undulating topography and fair amount of rainfall, normal erosion is quite common. The fertility of the soil is medium to low and the texture is loamy to clayey. Two soil types are recognised in the zone.

a) Grey Brown Podzolic Soil: This soil is found in the Pathankot tehsil of Gurdaspur and north-eastern parts of Ropar and Kharar tehsils. Because of surface run-off, the soil is not influenced by leaching, hence profile development is poor. Since the rainfall is heavy, gully erosion is a  serious problem. Acidity is from medium to high. The Soil lacks in phosphorous, calcium and zinc. Phosphorus fixation in the soil is high.

b)  Reddish Chestnut Soil: The soil is found in a region covering Hoshiarpur, Ropar and some parts of Gurdaspur tehsils. The carbonates are leached down to the lower layers. The soil is moderately acidic and neutral in reaction (pH 6.5 to 7.5) and is deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus. However, it is free of any accumulation of salt and calcium carbonate.


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