Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Official series description
 Physical, chemical, and mineralogical...
 Management of perrine soils
 Research on perrine soils
 Estimated yields
 Literature cited

Group Title: Department of Soils mimeograph report
Title: Benchmark soils
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00091530/00001
 Material Information
Title: Benchmark soils Perrine soils of Florida
Alternate Title: Perrine soils of Florida
Department of Soils mimeograph report 64-2 ; University of Florida
Physical Description: 22 leaves : map ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thompson, L. G ( Leonard Garnett ), 1903-
University of Florida -- Dept. of Soils
Carlisle, V. W.
Caldwell, R. E.
Leighty, R. G.
Publisher: Dept. of Soils, Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: January 1964
Subject: Soils -- Analysis -- Florida -- Miami-Dade County   ( lcsh )
Soil management -- Florida -- Miami-Dade County   ( lcsh )
Vegetable gardening -- Florida -- Miami-Dade County   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
technical report   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by L.G. Thompson, Jr. ... et al..
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 21-22).
General Note: "January 1964."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091530
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 36929832

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Official series description
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties
        Page 6
    Management of perrine soils
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Research on perrine soils
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Estimated yields
        Page 20
    Literature cited
        Page 21
        Page 22
Full Text




L. G. Thompson, Jr., V. W. Carlisle,
R. E. Caldwell, and R. G. Leighty

Department of Soils
Agricultural Experiment Station
University of Florida



Introduction '. . . . . . . . .
General Characteristics of the Series .
Geology and Physiography . . .
Climate . . . . . .
Figure 1. Location of Major Areas of Perrine
Associated Soils ...... .

Official Series Description . . . .


. . 0 . I1

* 0
. 0

* 0 *

* 0
* 0
* S

. 1

. 2

0 0 * 0 *

0 . 0 . . 3

Description of Major Mapping Units .. . . . . . . .

Physical, Chemical, and Mineralogical Properties .

Management of Perrine Soils .. . . .
Tomatoes . . . . . . .
Potatoes .. . .
Snap Beans . . . .. . . . .
Pole Beans . . . . .
Other Vegetables . . . . . .

Research on Perrine Soils ... . .
Fertility Experiments with Tomatoes .
Effect of Fungicides on Tomatoes . . .
Fertility Experiments with Potatoes . .
Water Control Experiments on Perrine Soils .

* 0 0 0 0 0 0 ..**

Estimated Yields . . .. . . . . . . . . . 20

Literature Cited . . . . . . .

. . . . . 21


General Characteristics of the Series

Perrine series consists of Low-Humic Gley soils of the Red-Yellow Podzolic re-

gion. They were developed from unconsolidated finely divided calcareous sediments.

These soils occur on level areas only a few feet above sea level and are naturally

very poorly drained, but some areas have been artificially drained by ditches and

canals. The texture of these soils is mostly silt loam. Perrine marl differs from

Flamingo marl in that it has a higher content of silt and a lower content of clary.

It differs from Ochopee fine sandy marl by having a lower content of fine sands mixed

with the calcareous materials. The surface soil varies from grayish-brown to dark

grayish-brown and from 6 to 10 inches in thickness. There may be a few small pale

yellow mottlings in the light gray color of the lower layers. The limestone is com-

monly from 18 to 36 inches below the surface of the soil.

The native vegetation is mostly sawgrass, saltgrass, sedges, reeds, mimosa,

buttonwood, and mangrove.

Perrine marl is used for potatoes, tomatoes, snap beans, and other vegetables.

Approximately 17,000 acres of this soil are used for these crops. With a high level

of management, good yields are obtained.

Geology and Physiography

Perrine marls have developed from unconsolidated finely divided calcareous sedi-

ments of recent geological origin that were mainly deposited in fresh w.ater. These

soils occur on nearly level areas only a few feet above sea level. They are poorly

to very poorly drained. They are underlain by Miami oolite or the Tamiami formation

in the west and by oolitic limestone in the south and east portions of Dade County,

Florida. During very high tides, some areas may be covered by brackish or salt




The climate of the Perrine marl area is humid and subtropical. Winters are

short and mild and summers are long and warm. Sea breezes from the Atlantic Ocean

and the Gulf of Mexico keep the temperatures moderate. Almost daily afternoon thun-

derstorms help to lower the summer temperatures. Frosts harmful to winter vegetables

have occurred at least once in lh out of 2h years, but in the other 10 years no frost

occurred at all.

j. " * *" *

': *


Figure 1. Location of Major Areas of Perrine Marl and Associated Soils


The average annual temperature is approximately 740F., with maximums of about

1000F. during June to August and minumums of about 260F. in December to February.

The annual rainfall averages 63 inches with about three-fourths of the rain

falling from May through October, usually as heavy thunder storms. During some per-

iods there is too much rain for most crops and not enough at other times.


The Perrine series consists of poorly drained Low-Humic Gley soils chiefly in
the southeastern part of Florida. These soils are derived from recent unconsolidated
finely~ divided calcareous sediments (marl) that were deposited mainly in fresh iraters
or by the solution and re-deposition of calcareous materials. Perrine soils occur
on nearly flat areas that are only a few feet above sea level. They are generally
associated with the Rockdale soils and with Tidal swamp and Tidal marsh and less
commonly with the Ochopee and Flamingo soils. They are more poorly drained and coarse
textured than the Rockdale soils. The Perrine soils commonly are silt loam throughout,
whereas the Ochopee soils are sand, loamy sand, or sandy loam and the Flamingo soils
are silty clay loam or silty clay. The Perrine soils are of limited distribution
and extent but are locally important to agriculture.

Soil Profile: Perrine silt loam

Ap 0-8" Grayish-brown (10YR 5/2) silt loam; weak fine granular structure;
very friable; calcareous; clear i:avy boundary. 6 to 10 inches thick.

C1 8-16" Very pale brown (10YR 7/3) silt loam; weak fine granular structure;
friable; calcareous; gradual wavy boundary. 6 to 20 inches thick.

C2 16-30" Light gray (10YR 7/2) silt loam; weak fine granular structure; friable;
calcareous; abrupt irregular boundary. 12 to h0 inches thick.

D 30"+ Limestone.

Range in Characteristics: The principal types are silt, silt loam, and loam. A
very thin mantle, usually less than 2 inches, of organic matter may cover the surface
in the low or depressed areas. The surface soil may be light grayish-brown, or dark
gray. The C1 horizon is light brownish-gray or light gray, and the C2 horizon has
a few small pale yellow mottles. Depth to limestone commonly ranges from 18 to 36
inches. Peat may be present between the C horizon and the limestone. Some areas
are affected by brackish or salt water. Colors given are for moist soil. When the
soil is dry, values are one or two units higher.

Topography: Nearly level areas lying slightly above sea level. Locally the soil
has a very slight gradient toward the coast.

Drainage and Permeability: Poorly drained with slow or very slow run-off and very
slow internal drainage. Permeability is moderate to rapid.


h -

Vegetation: Generally reeds, grasses, sedges, sa; grass, and a few cabbage palmettos
Salty areas are covered by mangroves and salt tolerant grasses. Areas once culti-
vated but now idle have a growth of dog fennel, smartweed, ragweed, coarse grasses,
and willows.

Use: Undrained areas are not being used. Drained areas are used for the production
oT-truck crops during the winter and early spring months.

Distribution: Southeastern Florida; mainly east, south, and southwest of Homestead.

Type Location: Dade County, Florida; 2 miles east of U. S. Highway 1 at Florida City,

Series Established: Everglades Project Area, Florida, 19h$.

Remarks: The Perrine series, as now defined, includes the soils formerly classed
in the Tucker series.

National Cooperative Soil Survey



The following profile description, approximate acreage, and proportionate

extent of Perrine soils appear in the current soil survey reports.

Dade County

A profile description of Perrine marl occurring in Dade County (10) is as


0 to 8 inches, grayish-brown friable marl of silt loam texture; strongly alkaline
8 to 16 inches, very pale brown friable marl of silt loam texture; contains
several small shells or fragments of shells; strongly alkaline.
16 to 30 inches, light gray friable marl of silt loam texture; contains a few
fragments and small shells; strongly alkaline.
30 inches +, limestone.

The surface soil varies from light brownish-gray to dark grayish-brown in

color and from 6 to 10 inches in thickness. A thin layer of partly decomposed organic


matter covers the surface in some low-lying areas. The second layer ranges from

light brownish-gray to light gray and from 6 to 20 inches in thickness. There are

a few small pale yellow mottlings in the light gray color of the third layer. Lime-

stone occurs at a depth varying from 2h to 72 inches. There are some small areas

that consists of pale yellow to yellow marl from the surface down to the limestone.

Potholes that are slightly lower and may be covered with water for longer periods

occur in this soil.

Perrine marl, shallo'i phase, occurs in the southeastern part of Dade County

in association with other Perrine marls. Small areas extend into areas of Rockdale

soils-limestone complex which lie on a ridge extending from Florida City to Miami.

This shallow phase differs from Perrine marl in that limestone is found at depths

ranging from 12 to 2h inches.

Perrine marl, very shallow phase, is found in association with other Perrine

marls and Rockdale soils. It differs from Perrine marl in that limestone occurs

at depths of less than 12 inches.

Perrine marl, peat substratum phase, occurs in large areas and in association

with other Perrine marls and with Mangrove swamp (unclassified soils). It is found

in the southern part of the marl glades near Florida City. It differs from Perrine

marl in having a 12- to 18-inch layer of broun fibrous organic matter between the

surface layer of marl and the underlying limestone. The marl varies from 12 to 24

inches in thickness and from a silt loam to loam in texture. The depth to the under-

lying limestone ranges from 2h to 60 inches.

Perrine marl, shallow, peat substratum phase, is found in association with other

Perrine marls and Mangrove swamp (unclassified soils) in the western and southern

parts of the marl glades near Florida City. It differs from shallow phase Perrine

marl in that it has a 6- to 12-inch layer of brown fibrous organic material between

the surface marl and the underlying limestone. The marl varies from h to 12 inches


in thickness, and the limestone occurs at depths which range from 12 to 2h inches.

Perrine marl, tidal phase, occurs in narrow belts between the other Perrine

marls and the Mangrove swamp (unclassified soils). It is found near the coast, east

of Homestead and Perrine and south of Florida City. It differs from Perrine marl

in that it has slight amounts of salts in its various layers. The salts come from

the sea water that cover the soil during high tide. The native vegetation usually

consists of salt-tolerant grasses and mangrove trees.

The approximate acreage and proportionate extent of Perrine soils in this county

are as follows:

Perrine marl - - - - - - - - h1,l60 acres - 3.1%
Perrine marl, peat substratum phase - - $8,255 acres - 4.3%
Perrine marl, shallow phase - -- - - 67,191 acres - 5.0%
Perrine marl, shallow, peat substratum phase 16,031 acres - 1.2%
Perrine marl, tidal phase - - - - - 13,756 acres - 3.2%
Perrine marl, very shallow phase - - - 79,080 acres - 5.8%


According to Malcolm (15) the finely divided calcareous sediments of Perrine

marl soils in Dade County are very similar to the limestone that is applied to cor-

rect soil acidity in other parts of Florida. An excess of calcium carbonate may

require some special treatment but it need not be an impossible barrier to successful

crop production.

Perrine marl contains 90 to 95 percent calcium carbonate. Skinner and Ruprecht

(18) reported that in addition to calcium carbonate, a typical sample contained 2.11

percent silica, 0.26 percent magnesium, 0.15 percent phosphorus, 0.08 percent iron,

and 0.001 percent manganese. The content of nitrogen was 0.33 percent, indicating

about 6 percent organic matter. More recent analyses indicate that these results

are still typical for this soil. However, there are many samples which contain less

silica and the phosphorus content of the virgin soil is generally lower, especially

in the area southwest of Florida City. The marls analysed by Skinner and Ruprecht

- 7 -

were mostly from East Glade and Franjo areas. The low content of silica precludes

the possibility of a significant clay fraction.

The Perrine marl soils vary in pH from 7.5 to 8.8. The samples brought directly

from the field are seldom above pH 8.0, probably because of the high content of car-

bon dioxide. Drying for long periods will raise the pH.

Mechanical analyses show that Perrine marl is dominantly a silt loam. More than

95 percent of a marl sample can be washed through a 200-mesh sieve. The remainder

consists of root fragments, other organic material, and pieces of shell.

From chemical and physical analyses, it is apparent that these marls would be

classed as high grade agricultural limestones. However, they are not recommended

for magnesium-deficient soils.

The Perrine marl is deficient in some plant nutrients and requires fertilizer

to produce maximum yields. It is deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and

manganese. Research by Skinner and Ruprecht (18), establishing that additions of man-

ganese were essential for successful crop production on Perrine soils, changed Dade

County agriculture from organic gardening to commercial farming. Only one case of

magnesium deficiency has been reported in the area. Probably deficiencies of copper,

zinc, boron, and iron do occur under some conditions but no consistent response to

these elements has been obtained.


In Dade County, nearly all the cultivated land is on the marl and rocky soils

with the most extensive and typical marls belonging to the Perrine series (10).

The Perrine marls range from 5 to 8 feet above sea level and are poorly drained.

Some large areas have been drained artificially by canals. The undrained soils become

waterlogged and sometimes are covered by a few inches of water during the rainy

season. At some periods in the growing season they may become too dry for crop growth.

Therefore, these soils need irrigation as well as drainage.

8 -

The water management system consists of field ditches, laterals, and canals con-

taining some check dams and pumps. The canals and laterals are spaced at intervals

of one-half mile usually on the section and half-section lines. The field ditches

are spaced from 660 to 1320 feet apart and at right angles to the laterals. During

the normal winter season, this drainage is generally effective but pumping may be

needed during occasional wet periods and in the rainy season.

Experiments (10) show that a O0-acre field from which the water has been pumped

can be cultivated two eeeks earlier than a similar area without pumping. For econom-

ical pumping a 40-acre field is about the best size. A dike should be built around

the field to prevent surface water from entering from other areas. Since the rocks

are porous and conduct water, about h inches of marl are left between the bottom of

the ditches and the underlying rocks. Also, for better water control, a series of

check dams and pumps are needed in the main laterals and canals.

Perrine marl is generally strongly alkaline in reaction and low in organic mat-

ter, nitrogen, potassium, and available phosphorus. Because of the lack of enough

mineral nutrients for crops, frequent application of fertilizers must be made. The

amount of fertilizer applied varies from 700 to 3000 pounds per acre, depending on

the kind of crop grown. The mixed fertilizers generally used are 5-7-5 or h-8-8.

Minor elements such as copper, zinc, manganese, and boron are added to help increase

the yield and improve the quality of the crop. Some of the minor elements are ap-

plied with sprays and dusts used for disease and insect control.

The marl soils vary from 1 to 20 feet in depth. On the shallow marls, crop

yields are about the same as those on the deeper marls. However, it is desirable

to plant as early as possible on the shallow marls so the crops can mature before

the soil becomes too dry in late spring.

Tillage practices depend generally on the kind of crop grown. Tractor plowing

and disk harrowing are used to prepare the seedbeds. Roadways are made about 600

to 1320 feet apart.

- 9 -


Tomatoes are planted in rows 5 to 7 feet apart and at intervals of about 20

inches in the ro'. A 6-8-6 fertilizer at the rate of 800 to 1200 pounds per acre

is applied at planting and at intervals of 3 or 4 weeks until harvesting begins.

Side dressings of 100 to 200 pounds of nitrate of soda, sulfate of ammonia, or nitrate

of soda-potash are applied in some seasons. Fifty pounds of manganese sulfate are

usually applied with the mixed fertilizer. After heavy rains, more fertilizer is

applied. Tomatoes generally yield 135 to 200 bushels per acre, but sometimes up

to 600 bushels.


Potatoes are planted at intervals of about 8 inches in the row with the rows

about 32 inches apart. Mixed fertilizer is applied at planting time at the rate of

1500 to 2000 pounds per acre. The fertilizer should analyze about 4-8-h and usually

includes 100 pounds of manganese sulfate per ton. On land previously planted to

potatoes, nitrogen fertilizer may be reduced to 2 percent. The fertilizer is applied

in the row beside and below the seed pieces. The potatoes are cultivated about every

14 to 21 days. All potato-growing operations are mechanized.

On Perrine marl, the average yield of potatoes is about 190 bushels per acre,

but yields vary from 80 to 500 bushels.

Snao Beans

Snap beans are planted at the rate of three pecks per acre in rows 30 to 36

inches apart. To control weeds they are cultivated about every 7 to 10 days. At

planting time a h-8-8 or 4-7-5 fertilizer containing 100 pounds of manganese sulfate

per ton is applied at the rate of 800 to 1200 pounds per acre. A side dressing of

100 to 200 pounds per acre of ammonium sulfate may be applied. On new land, it may

be necessary to apply additional manganese to the plants in the dust or spray used

to control diseases and insects. On Perrine marl, the average yield of beans is

10 -

about 150 bushels per acre, but yields vary from 100 to 300 bushels.

Pole Beans

Pole beans are planted in rows from h8 to 60 inches apart. Various structures

are used for the beans to climb on. Some farmers use posts at 30- to 50-foot inter-

vals, which extend 6 feet above the ground and are connected by 3 strands of wire.

At intervals of 9 to 12 inches, cord is tied to the wire in a vertical position.

Others use small stakes at intervals of 2h to 30inches in the row. The acreage of

pole beans is much smaller than that of snap beans.

Pole beans receive about the same rate of fertilizer as snap beans, but an addi-

tional 200 to 300 pounds per acre of mixed fertilizer is applied before the first

picking. Sometimes a topdressing of 100 to 200 pounds per acre of nitrate of soda

is applied at the first picking. Yields for pole beans are slightly higher than those

for snap beans.

Other Vegetables

Small acreages of other vegetables such as squash, cabbage, peppers, celery,

sweet potatoes, and corn are grown on the Perrine marls. From 1000 to 1800 pounds

per acre of h-7-5 or h-8-8 fertilizer which contains manganese sulfate are applied

to these crops. Sweet potatoes receive about 700 to 1000 pounds of a 3-8-8 fertilizer.

Corn grown after potatoes usually is not fertilized.

The average yield of squash is about 160 bushels per acre, but yields have been

as high as 275 bushels. The average yield of cabbage is about 7 tons per acre, but

yields vary from 3 to 12 tons.

In rotations, sesbania generally follows tomatoes, and velvet beans follow po-

tatoes. Although these cover crops usually are not fertilized, they grow large

during the summer months. Generally they are plowed under about 6 weeks before

planting the next crop of vegetables.

11 -


Fertility Experiments with Tomatoes

Malcolm (13) conducted a series of fertilizer experiments with tomatoes on

Perrine marl and found that 300 pounds per acre of P205 as triple superphosphate

gave the best yield when compared to 0, 75, and 150 pounds of P205 per acre. In

previous years, the best yields were obtained from either 75 or 150 pounds of P205

per acre. When sulfate of ammonia and urea nitrogen were applied at rates of 0, tO0,

80, 160, and 320 pounds per acre, the 160 pound rate gave the best yield. The 320

pound rate yielded only slightly less. In the potash test, the 200 pound rate of

K20 per acre wras the best, but results from the same treatment in other tests indi-

cated that there .ias no difference between the 200 and 300 pound rates. The no-potash

plots produced very poor yields which had a large amount of fruit affected by vas-

cular browning, commonly known as "gray wall". The time of application test showed

that late and extra applications of nitrogen were of no advantage. The poorest yields

were obtained on those plots where the first nitrogen side-dressing was omitted in

favor of a late and heavy application.

Malcolm (lh) found that the phosphorus content of tomato leaves was increased

significantly by applying 0 to 300 pounds of P205 per acre to the soil. The potas-

sium content of tomato leaves was I times as high on plots fertilized with 200 to

300 pounds of K20 per acre as on plots receiving no potassium for a number of years.

As the rate of potassium applied to the soil was increased, calcium, magnesium, and

nitrogen contents of tomato leaves decreased.

In an 8-year test, 100 pounds of P205 per acre gave the highest yield of mar-

ketable tomatoes. Soil that had been adequately fertilized for 7 years needed no

phosphorus. When phosphorus was added to the fertilizer, the yield of marketable

fruit decreased but the total yield was not decreased.

12 -

In the nitrogen experiment, best yields of tomatoes were obtained from 300

pounds of nitrogen per acre. Yields were about the same with 400 pounds per acre,

but in another test 00 pounds of nitrogen depressed yields.

As the rate of application of K20 was increased from 0 to 300 pounds per acre,

the yield and the proportion of marketable fruit increased. Uhen the soil was ade-

quately fertilized for 7 years, additional potassium increased the marketable fruit

but did not increase the total yield.

Borax at the rate of 25 pounds per acre did not increase tomato yields.

Malcolm (17) conducted phosphorus experiments with tomatoes on deep Perrine

marl and noted that this soil did not contain sufficient available phosphorus for

maximum growth, but released a small amount at about a constant rate year after year.

About 70-75 pounds of P205 per acre per year was the most efficient rate of appli-

cation. The highest rate of application of phosphorus gave somewhat lower yields,

which usually was due to secondary effects. The high phosphate plots gave the best

yield ever obtained during the last year, which showed that the amounts accumulated

up to this point were not harmful.

The application of phosphate to the soil affected to some extent the nitrogen,

phosphorus, and potassium contents of tomato leaves. As the rate of phosphorus ap-

plied was increased, the nitrogen content was decreased. This effect was more appar-

ent in seasons when nitrogen was deficient. The potassium content also decreased

as the rate of application of phosphate was increased, but was significant for only

a single season. As the rate of phosphate application was increased, the phosphorus

content of tomato leaves was increased. The calcium and magnesium content of tomato

leaves were not influenced by the application of phosphorus. The nitrogen-phosphorus

ratio in the tomato leaves was found to be the best indicator of an adequate supply

of phosphorus. The optimum ratio was found to be 12.5 to 1.

13 -

No foliage symptoms were observed that could be used to diagnose phosphorus

deficiency. A marl containing h0 pounds of P205 per acre, as determined by the acid

ammonium acetate extraction method, gave a profitable increase in yield from an ap-

plication of phosphate.

On Perrine marl, Westgate (20) compared 6 plowed with 6 mowed plots planted

to Grothen Globe tomatoes and found a significant difference in yield of 72 bushels

per acre the first year in favor of the mowed plots. In the second and third years

of this test, there was no significant difference in yields between the treatments.

A series of nitrogen fertilizer experiments were run by Skinner and Ruprecht

(18) with tomatoes on marl soils. Each year the plots were moved to another area.

The highest yields of marketable tomatoes uere obtained from plots which received

from 99 to 148 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Increasing the rate of nitrogen to 198

pounds per acre reduced the yields. Organic sources of nitrogen gave the best re-

sults, but almost as good results were obtained where only three-fourths or one-half

of the nitrogen was derived from an organic source.

Malcolm (12) found that the highest yields of tomatoes were obtained with 160

or more pounds of nitrogen per acre. The results indicated that cyanamid, sulfate

of ammonia, ammonium nitrate, urea, and tankage were all equally effective under

the conditions of the experiment. These results iere different from those obtained

by Skinner and Ruprecht (18) who found that the organic gave better results than

the inorganic sources of nitrogen.

The yields varied from year to year, but there was no indication that the check

or the plots receiving 40 pounds per acre of nitrogen were becoming progressively

poorer or that the rate of 320 pounds per acre of nitrogen application was damaging

the soil.

The tomato leaves from plots receiving O0 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre

contained less nitrogen than the leaves from check plots that received no nitrogen.

14 -

As the rate of nitrogen application above 100 pounds per acre was increased, the

nitrogen content of the leaves also increased. The yields from the low nitrogen

plants give evidence of a deficiency of nitrogen during the major portion of the

growing season. The results shou that nitrogen fertilizer at heavy rates of ap-

plication is absolutely essential for the production of tomatoes on deep poorly

drained marl.

A series of tomato experiments by Malcolm (11) disclosed that manganese was

available in the cultivated marl soils. This was true on land that had been farmed

for only 4 or 5 years. On the newer land the addition of manganese to the fertilizer

increased the yield of tomatoes. No visible symptoms of manganese toxicity were

observed in tomatoes. Significant yield reductions, below the yields from the plots

receiving moderate amounts, resulted from the use of 100 pounds of MnO per acre on

tomatoes. Manganese should be added to the fertilizer in quantities sufficient to

give the highest yield, but caution should be used to avoid larger quantities which

could cause yield reductions.

Fiskel, Forsee and Malcolm (5) found that tomatoes developed symptoms of extreme

manganese deficiency on virgin marl soils.

Effect of Fungicides on Tomatoes

Borders (1) studied the effect of several new fungicides on Grothen Globe to-

matoes planted on Perrine marl. The first 2 applications were made 7 days apart

and the next 10 applications at $-day intervals. All dithio-carbamate sprays except

zerlate controlled late blight in the field under extremely severe blight conditions.

The carbamate gave equally good control of early blight which uas moderately severe.

The addition of DDT to the spray gave a highly significant decrease in the yield

of tomatoes.

In a test of 16 selections of tomatoes on Perrine marl several selections were

found to be resistant to late and/or early blight.

15 -

On marl soils, using a split schedule of 2 applications of raneb to a single

application of zineb as the standard, Conover (2) found that spray applications of

Thylate, Thioneb, Captan, Phaltan, and Dyrene were not as good as the standard but

showed moderate control of late blight of tomatoes.

Fertility Experiments with Potatoes

Fifield and Wolfe (L.) conducted fertilizer experiments on the marl soils of

Dade County, Florida, and found that 1500 to 2000 pounds of h-8-9 or 3-12-8 gave

the highest yield of potatoes. In most instances the most profitable amount was

1500 pounds. In 4 out of 5 years a l-8-5 fertilizer with 33 percent of the nitro-

gen derived from organic sources yielded as well as fertilizers containing a higher

percentage of organic-derived nitrogen. Milorganite, blood-and-bone tankage, and

dried blood slightly outyielded the other sources. Fish scrap, cottonseed meal,

urea, and cyanamid yielded slightly less and about the same as fertilizers in which

all their nitrogen was derived from sulfate of ammonia, nitrate of soda, or ammoniuml

phosphate. Urea and cyanamid both produced good yields and were among the treatments

showing the lowest cost of fertilizer per bushel of potatoes harvested.

When the sulfate and nuriate forms of potash were compared, there were no sig-

nificant differences in yield.

Additions of manganese sulfate in amounts equivalent to 65 pounds of MnO per

ton of fertilizer gave as good yields as larger amounts. The results indicated that

after 5 years of successive applications manganese sulfate could be omitted for at

least one year without decreasing the yield.

Applications of copper sulfate, iron citrate, borax, sulfur and calcium sulfate

failed to give a profitable increase in yield.

When applied at 6 or 8 tons per acre with commercial fertilizer, manure increased

the yield slightly, but not enough to pay for the cost.

16 -

Westgate (i1) found that potato yields were not reduced on Perrine marl by

decreasing the nitrogen in the fertilizer from h to 2 percent. Then the nitrogen

was left completely out of the fertilizer, the yields were decreased under some con-

ditions. It is standard commercial practice to use h percent nitrogen in the fer-

tilizer for potatoes and other vegetables on Perrine marl, even when the nitrate

nitrogen levels are high.

Six standard potato varieties were compared to 23 late blight resistant potato

hybrids developed by Dr. Donald Reddick, New York State College of Agriculture, Ithaca,

New York. The plots were not sprayed, but no late blight developed on the hybrids,

with the best hybrids yielding 13h bushels per acre. The disease was severe in the

area and unsprayed Pontiac potatoes yielded only: bushels per acre.

On cultivated Perrine soils, Malcolm (11) found that manganese treated plots

yielded about the same as the check plots. No 'isable symptoms of manganese toxicity

There observed on the potatoes, yet there were significant yield reductions on the

plots receiving 75 pounds of MnO per acre. Applications of 37.5 pounds of MnO per

acre did not reduce fields.

In nitrogen experiments with potatoes on marl soils, Malcolm (12) found that

the soil supplied the nitrogen required by the potatoes. The results indicate that

the nitrogen was supplied to the soil by some natural :ieans. The soil had been cul-

tivated too long for the original organic matter to supply sufficient nitrogen for

the growth of potatoes. A cover crop of sesbania had been used on this land in suam-

mer, but nodule development was too poor to supply the large quantity of nitrogen

needed. The results from these plots and observation in the area indicated that

nonsymbiotic fixation of atmospheric nitrogen was taking place.

In phosphorus experiments with potatoes on Perrine marl, Malcolm (16) found

no significant difference in yield for the h years or for any single year. In the

third year, the check which had received no phosphorus produced the highest yield.

17 -
As the application of phosphate gave no significant response: it was concluded that

the soil contained sufficient available phosphorus for potatoes. Growing potatoes

for b years did not reduce the phosphorus supply to a critical level. When 870

pounds of P20g per acre as triple superphosphate were applied over a period of it

years, no toxicity resulted.

Conover and Wolfenbarger (3) nade a test on inarl soils of various methods to

control root-knot nematodes in potato fields and found that calcium cyanamide, D-D,

and ethylene dibromide had no effect on yield and 93 percent of the tubers showed

nematode infestation. Plots treated with methyl bromide gave the highest yield of

potatoes and the lowest amount of tuber infestation which was 26 percent. Weed killers,

such as 2-h-D amine and sodium chlorate, resulted in next to the lowest amount of

tuber infestation (57 percent). When the weed Colocasia esculenta was eradicated,

the quantity of tuber infestation was 80 percent and for fall plowing 83 percent.

In another test, D-D at rates of 176, 335, L4h4 and 1608 pounds per acre failed

to influence nematode infestation or yield of potatoes.

Malcolm (15) noted that all of the evidence indicated that the supply of cal-

cium was adequate. T1hile the high pH causes many people concern, it appears to be

of little consequence to the plants. With proper seed disinfection, potato scab

is not a serious problem on these soils in most years. As sources of nitrogen, ni-

trate of soda or ammonium sulfate gave equally good results for potatoes over a

period of years.

When adequate fertilizers are used, the yields of vegetables on these soils

are equal to or better than those obtained in other areas of Florida. Because of

the seasonal advantage, the net returns are generally better than in other areas.

The marls do have some serious disadvantages. During the summer months, cul-

tivation is not practical because the soil is subject to flooding. Shallow depth

to the water table level often limits the effective depth of the marl during the

18 -

winter cropping season .. This interferes with nitrification and root growth and

sometimes with cultivation and other tillage practices. As the marl is particularly

treacherous when it is wet, ground spraying may have to be abandoned at the most

critical time because the bearing value of wet marl is too low to support most farm

machinery. A high clearance crawler tractor has been developed to offset the poor

bearing quality of these soils.

When calcium cyanamid is applied to the soil, it usually retains its phytotox-

icity for weeks or even months. It may be safely applied to marl the same day that

potatoes or beans are planted without inhibiting sprouting or germination.

Considering the success of vegetable crops on marl soils, the conclusion is that

there is no such thing as too much calcium carbonate. Although the calcium must be

balanced by other plant nutrients, no special chemical compounds or complicated art

is needed to make these nutrients available.

Water Control Experiments on Perrine Soils

Gallatin (6) reported that pumping was not necessary on the water-control ex-

perimental plots in 1951. The increase in chlorides during the year was due to low

rainfall and a carry-over of residual chlorides. Some areas which had been farmed

successfully in previous years could not be used in 1951 because of high chloride

r:cncentrations. Results show that salt water will move inland through unprotected

ditches and contaminate the surrounding land. To keep sea water from moving up the

canals, barriers are effective. When pumping water from deep rock ditches is com-

pared to pumping from marl seal ditches, results show that chloride concentration

has remained lower in the area of marl seal ditches, although this area is located

closer to the bay.

In marls where the concentration of chlorides exceeds 250 ppm., snap beans should

not be planted. Potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and broccoli are more tolerant and

can be planted on land where the starting concentration is not more than 1000 to

19 -
1200 ppm. As the chlorides move toward the surface during the growing season, deep-

rooted crops are more tolerant than shallow-rooted crops. Where the plants have been

bedded by cultivation, good crops of tomatoes have been produced where the chloride

concentration at the surface was 15,000 ppm., but only 2000 to 3000 ppm. in the root


Gallatin (7) found that it is possible, by pumping, to get the land ready for

planting 2 to 3 weeks earlier than adjacent areas which were not pumped. The main

advantage of pumping is to protect crops against damage from rains coming late in

the growing season. In areas protected by pumping there has been no serious damage,

but in adjacent unprotected areas, the crops have been frequently damaged. by too

much water.

Gallatin (7) noted that barriers were effective in keeping chlorides from moving

up canals and ditches. As some crops are more tolerant to chlorides than others,

the soils should be sampled to determine concentration before planting. Then suitable

crops may be selected. Factors influencing chloride tolerance are: types, amounts,

end placement of fertilizers; cultural practices; rainfall; and organic matter.

After the plants are established, bedding-up the surface soil to raise the chlorides

above the root zone has been considered to be very important.

With almost normal rainfall during the summer of 1953 and a recharge of the

water table from the north, Gallatin (8) noted that a large portion of the contam-

inated area was flushed relatively free of chlorides. Because of a faulty barrier

in a ditch, the concentration of chlorides increased from 400 ppm. to 15,000 ppm.,

and resulted in serious damage to potatoes.

A low marginal area was diked for chloride control. Due to normal rainfall,

this area was low enough in chlorides to be planted for the first time in several


20 -

Gallatin (9) observed that, on farms not protected by pumps, the loss of crops

in 1953-54 season was extensive due to the inability to remove surface water from

the fields. The station farm, which was protected by pumping, saved all the crops.

At the start of the 1954-55 season, there was a long period of high water table.

The assurance of being able to plant at the proper time and to harvest the crop was

made possible by pumping and is essential to successful farming of these naturally

poorly drained soils. The rate of seepage from a 2-foot head through a marl sealed

ditch was only 0.10 cubic foot per second per mile which was an insignificant amount

compared with the seepage reported from a 2-foot head through a deep rock ditch.

It appears that rainfall is the most important factor in controlling chlorides.

Barriers are effective in keeping brackish-water from moving up the canals, but the

many ditches and small canals with no barriers reduce the effectiveness of the bar-

riers considerably for preventing salt intrusion.

Low dikes near the coast have been effective in keeping out fall and spring tides

in the marginal areas that are 1 to l1 feet above the mean sea level. Results from

these areas show that no pumping should be done from deep rock ditches adjacent to

the coast, because heavy pumping reduces the head of fresh water and allows salt

water to move in from the bay.


The estimated yields of principal crops on Perrine marl in Dade County (10)

are as follows: tomatoes, 135 to 200 bu./acre; potatoes 80 to 500 bu./acre; snap

beans, 100 to 300 bu./acre; pole beans, 125 to 350 bu./acre; squash, 150 to 250

bu./acre; and cabbage, 3 to 12 tons/acre.

- 21 -


:1. Borders, H. I. Control of Tomato Diseases.
Sta. Annual Report. p. 199. 1946.

2. Conover, R. A. Control of Tomato Diseases.
Sta. Annual Report. p. 345. 1957.

State Project 291.

State Project 291.

Fla. Agr. Exp.

Fla. Agr. Exp.

3. Conover, R. A. and D. O.
Nematode on Marl Soils.
p. 249. 1950.

Wolfenbarger. Studies on the Control of the Root-Knot
Non-Project Studies. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report.

4. Fifield, W. M. and H.
Soils of Dade County.

S. Wolfe.
Fla. Agr.

Fertilizer Experiments with Potatoes on Marl
Exp. Sta. Bul. 352. 1940.

5. Fiskel, J. G. A., W. T. Forsee, and J. L. Malcolm. Some Manganese-Iron Relation-
ships in Tomato Fruits Grown on Marl, Peat and Sand Soils. Fla. State Hort.
Soc. Proc. 66:159-166. 1954.

6. Gallatin, H. M. Irrigation, Water Control, Chloride Tolerance and Intrusion
Studies on Rockdale and Perrine Marl Soils of the Homestead Area in 1951. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 289. 1952.

7. Gallatin, M. H. Irrigation, Water Control, Chloride Tolerance and Intrusion
Studies on Rockdale and Perrine Marl Soils of the Homestead Area in 1952. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 331. 1953.

8. Gallatin, M. H. Irrigation, Water Control, Chloride Tolerance and Intrusion
Studies on Rockdale and Perrine Marl Soils of the Homestead Area in 1953. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 295. 1954.

9. Gallatin, M. H. Irrigation, Water Control, Chloride Tolerance and Intrusion
Studies on Rockdale and Perrine Marl Soils of the Homestead Area in 1954. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 319. 1955.

10. Gallatin, M. H., J. K. Ballard, C. B. Evans, H. S. Galsberry, J. J. Hinton,
D. P. Powell E. Truett, W. L. Watts G. C. Wilson, Jr, and R. G. Leighty.
Soil Survey (Detailed Reconnaissance) of Dade County, Florida. U.S.D.A. and
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Series 1947, No. 4. 1958.

11. Malcolm, J. L. Manganese Requirements of Potatoes and Tomatoes on Marl Soils.
Soil Sci. Soc. of Fla. Proc. 14:81-87. 1954.

12. Malcolm, J. L. Nitrogen Experiments with Potatoes and Tomatoes on Marl Soils.
Soil Sci. Soc. of Fla. Proc. 15:91-100. 1955.

13. Malcolm, J. L. Tomato Culture Investigations. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Re-
port. p. 308. 1955.

14. Malcolm,
port. p.

J. L. Tomato Culture Investigations. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Re-
302. 1956.

22 -

15. Malcolm, J. L. Marl Soils: A Review. Soil and Crop Sci. Soc. of Fla. Proc.
17:89-90. 1957.

16. Malcolm, J. L. Phosphorus Experiments with Potatoes on the Perrine Marl.
Soil and Crop Sc.i Soc. of Fla. Proc. 17:216-218. 1957.

17. Malcolm, J. L. Phosphorus Experiments with Tomatoes on Perrine Marl. Soil
and Crop Sci. Soc. of Fla. Proc. 17:219-225. 1957.

18. Skinner, J. J. and R. W. Ruprecht. Fertilizer Experiments with Truck Crops.
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 218. 1930.

19. Westgate, P. J. Potato Culture Investigations. State Project 28$. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 196. 1946.

20. Westgate, P. J. Tomato Culture Investigations. State Project 286. Fla. Agr.
Exp. Sta. Annual Report. p. 196. 196,


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