Abstract

The soil aeration and hydric shortage greatly influence oil palm yield in Central America. This assay was conducted to identify and quantify the effect of the physical properties of the soil and rainfall on the yield of oil palm orchards in Coto and Quepos (Costa Rica) and San Alejo (Honduras). The following soil characteristics were evaluated: texture, moisture retention (pF), gravimetric moisture, drain water, total porosity, aerial space, large pore percentage, penetration resistance and tensimeter readings. These evaluations were conducted on 20 fruit bearing plots (in each locality) located within representative soil units; classified as: a) well drained (Fluventic Eutropepts), b) inperfect or moderately drained (Fluvaquentic Eutropepts) and c) poorly drained (Tropaquepts). San Alejo also shows soils with low base saturation (Dystropepts and Psamments). Twenty four additional plots were analyzed in this latter orchard to relate their yield with the catographic units. Regression and corre lation analysis were run for the three localities. The main limiting factors on production were: poor soil aeration en Coto, poor soil aeration and hydric shortage en Quepos, and poor aeration, low base saturation and sandy textures in San Alejo.