Soil properties of cultivation sites for mountain-cultivated ginseng at the local level – Accepted Manuscript

Abstract: Background: Identifying suitable sites for growing mountain-cultivated ginseng are an area of concern for ginseng producers. This study was conducted to evaluate the soil properties of cultivation sites for mountain-cultivated ginseng in Hamyang-gun, which is known to be one of the most famous areas for mountain-cultivated ginseng in Korea.Methods: The sampling plots from 30 sites were randomly selected on or near the center of the ginseng growing sites in July and August 2009. Soil samples for the soil property analysis were collected through the top 20 cm at five randomly selected points.Results: Mountain-cultivated ginseng was grown in soils that varied greatly in soil properties on coniferous, mixed, and deciduous broadleaved stand sites of elevations between > 200 m and < 1,000 m. The soil bulk density was higher in Pinus densiflora than in Larix leptolepis stand sites and higher in the 700 m sites. Soil pH was unaffected by the type of stand sites (pH 4.35–4.55), while the high-elevation sites of > 700 m were strongly acidified, with pH 4.19. The organic carbon and total nitrogen content were lower in the P. densiflora stand sites than in the deciduous broadleaved stand sites. Available phosphorus was low in all of the stand sites. The exchangeable cation was generally higher in the mixed and low-elevation sites than in the P. densiflora and high-elevation sites, respectively.Conclusion: These results indicate that mountain-cultivated ginseng in Korea is able to grow in very acidic, nutrient-depleted forest soils.