South African Journal of Plant and Soil

ISSN: 0257-1862 (Print)
            2167-034X (Online)
Publication frequency: 4 issues per year

Accredited with the DHET (SAPSE)

Official publication of SSSSA, SASCP, SASHS and SAWSS

Co-published with Taylor & FrancisClick here for Open Access options on this journal

Aims & Scope

The South African Journal of Plant and Soil publishes original articles and commentaries on research in the fields of fundamental and applied soil and plant science. Original research papers, short communications including germplasm registrations, relevant book reviews, commentaries on papers recently published, letters, opinion pieces and debates, and review articles will be considered for publication in the Journal. Manuscripts considered may address aspects of:

  • Agronomical and Horticultural research including breeding and genetics, cultivar evaluation, management, nutrition, physiology, production, and quality;
  • Soil Science research including biology, chemistry, classification, fertility, mineralogy, pedology and hydropedology, physics, and soil and land evaluation of agricultural and urban ecosystems;
  • Weed Science research including biological control agents, biology, ecology, genetics, herbicide resistance and herbicide-resistant crops, and physiology and molecular action of herbicides and plant growth regulators;
  • Agro-climatology;
  • Agro-ecology;
  • Forage, Pasture and Turfgrass science including production and utilisation;
  • Plant and Soil Systems Modelling;
  • Plant–Microbe Interactions;
  • Plant–Pest Interactions;
  • Plant–Soil Relationships.

Contributions on climate change, conservation agriculture, hydro-pedology, water harvesting and emerging crops are currently of specific interest.



Sunette Laurie
ARC–Vegetable and Ornamental Plants, Pretoria, South Africa

Associate Editors

John Bower, Consultant, Agassiz, BC, Canada 
Rodney Cooper, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Wapato, Washington, USA 
Peter Droogers, Future Water, Wageningen, Netherlands 
Jeff Hughes, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 
Nebo Jovanovic, CSIR, Stellenbosch, South Africa 
Louis Titshall, Institute for Commercial Forestry Research, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Daniel Leskovar,Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centre, Texas, USA 
Simeon Materechera, North-West University, Mmabatho, South Africa 
Albert Modi, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 
Roy Neilson, James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, UK 
Justice Nyamangara, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe 
Christopher Preston, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia 
Johan van Tol, University of Free State, South Africa
Toi Tsilo, ARC–Small Grain Institute, Bethlehem, South Africa 
Alex Valentine, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 

Advisory Board

Johan Bouma, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Anton Haverkort, Plant Research International, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Jules Janick, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Zakkie Pretorius, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Journal Management Board

Isa Bertling, SASHS, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Elbé Hugo, ARC–Grain Crops Institute, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Sunette Laurie, SAJP&S Editor-in-Chief, ARC–Vegetable and Ornamental Plants, Pretoria, South Africa
Dave Turner, SSSSA, ARC–Institute for Soil, Climate and Water, Pretoria, South Africa
Juan Vorster, SASCP, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts presented in accordance with instructions to authors (printed in the back of each issue) should be submitted online at the South African Journal of Plant and Soil ScholarOne Manuscripts site (

Publishing Manager

Contact regarding all aspects relating to the production of the journal, including scheduling and copyright issues:

Mike Schramm
NISC (Pty) Ltd
4 Speke Street
PO Box 377
Grahamstown 6140
South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)46 622 9698
Fax: +27 (0)46 622 9550

Latest Issue

Volume 34, Issue 5, 2017

Review Article

Scope of research on Parthenium hysterophorus in Africa
Author(s): Owen RubabaCollege of Health Sciences, South Africa, Moses ChimbariCollege of Health Sciences, South Africa, Samson MukaratirwaSchool of Life Sciences, South Africa
Pages: 323–332

Research Article

Use of adjuvants and fungicide application timing for the control of wattle rust (Uromycladium acaciae) in Acacia mearnsii plantations in South Africa
Author(s): Richard G PaynSchool of Natural Resource Management, South Africa, Keith M LittleSchool of Natural Resource Management, South Africa
Pages: 333–338
Spatial variability of selected soil micronutrients under smallholder crop production in Zanyokwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Author(s): Alen ManyevereDepartment of Agronomy, South Africa, Pardon MuchaonyerwaDiscipline of Soil Science, School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Africa, Pearson NS MnkeniDepartment of Agronomy, South Africa, Inos DhauDepartment of Geography and Environmental Sciences, South Africa
Pages: 339–349
Plant anatomy as a tool for evaluating the effect of different levels of nitrogen, plant population density, row spacing and irrigation on kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) fibre development
Author(s): Kayembe P KabeyaDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, South Africa, Petrus J RobbertseDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, South Africa, Diana MaraisDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, South Africa, J Martin SteynDepartment of Plant and Soil Sciences, South Africa
Pages: 351–360
Agromorphological diversity of South African sorghum genotypes assessed through quantitative and qualitative phenotypic traits
Author(s): Alina M MofokengAgricultural Research Council–Grain Crops Institute, South Africa, Hussein A ShimelisSchool of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, African Centre for Crop Improvement, South Africa, Mark D LaingSchool of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, African Centre for Crop Improvement, South Africa
Pages: 361–370
Increasing crop diversity increased soil microbial activity, nitrogen-sourcing and crop nitrogen, but not soil microbial diversity
Author(s): Zander S VenterDepartment of Animal Sciences, South Africa, Samantha L ScottPlant Conservation Unit, South Africa, Johann StraussDirectorate-Plant Sciences, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, South Africa, Karin JacobsDepartment of Microbiology, South Africa, Heidi-Jayne HawkinsConservation South Africa, Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, South Africa
Pages: 371–378
Determining the optimal phenological stage for predicting common dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) yield using field spectroscopy
Author(s): Perushan RajahDiscipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Africa, John OdindiDiscipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Africa, Elfatih Abdel-RahmanDiscipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Africa, Onisimo MutangaDiscipline of Geography, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Africa
Pages: 379–388
Variation in morphology and yield traits of Cucurbita landraces in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Author(s): Nontuthuko R NtuliDepartment of Botany, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, South Africa, Rufaro M MadakadzeAfrican Crop Improvement Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Kenya, Alpheus M ZoboloDepartment of Botany, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, South Africa
Pages: 389–397

Short Communication

Preliminary evaluation of seed and germination traits in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) genotypes
Author(s): Abe S GerranoAgricultural Research Council–Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, South Africa, Willem S Jansen van RensburgAgricultural Research Council–Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, South Africa, Patrick O AdebolaAgricultural Research Council–Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, South Africa
Pages: 399–402
Yield, nutrient and heavy metal uptake of leafy vegetables grown in sewage sludge and poultry manure amended soils
Author(s): Blessing NyamasokaDepartment of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Zimbabwe, Ronald MarumbiDepartment of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Zimbabwe, Armwell ShumbaDepartment of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Zimbabwe, Phillip NyamugafataDepartment of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Zimbabwe, Simon MadyiwaDepartment of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Zimbabwe, Justice NyamangaraDepartment of Environmental Science and Technology, Zimbabwe
Pages: 403–406


Instructions for Authors

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Author FAQ


Instructions for Authors 

Editorial policy: Original papers, short communications including germplasm registrations, book reviews, comments on papers recently published and reviews on research in fields of soil science and applied plant science will be considered for publication in this journal. Authors should view the full scope of the journal here. Contributions must conform to the principles outlined in Ethical Considerations in Research Publication available for download below. The language medium is English and four volumes are published per year. All papers will be refereed, by at least two referees. Authors bear sole responsibility for the factual accuracy of their publications.

Copyright for all published material is vested in the Southern African Plant and Soil Sciences Committee. All papers are subject to page charges of R250 (society members) and R700 (non-members) per page (VAT inclusive).

Authors may consider to make their final published article open access, with limited restrictions on reuse, once an article has been accepted in peer review. This is available for authors, their research sponsors or their funders. An article publishing charge (APC) is applicable, but authors based in sub-Saharan Africa may be eligible for a discounted regional rate. Read more information about our Open Select programme here.  

All submissions much be uploaded online at the South African Journal of Plant and Soil ScholarOne Manuscripts site and include a covering letter with the following information:

• Title of the article.
• A statement that all authors have reviewed the manuscript and approved its submission to South African Journal of Plant and Soil.
• A statement that the manuscript is not being submitted elsewhere.
• A statement indicating why the journal should consider publishing the work and outlining the importance of the research.

All manuscripts should be double-spaced in A4 format with 2.5 cm margins and Arial font of 12 pt. As a general guide to manuscript preparation, refer to the sample copy available here. The editor will acknowledge receipt of your manuscript. If an acknowledgement is not received within 14 days, the corresponding author should contact the Editor-in-Chief.

Full-length original papers: Contributions submitted should be written concisely and, generally, must not be more than 6 000 words in length. Typescripts that are not concise or do not conform to the conventions of the Journal will be returned to the authors for revision.

Short communications: Contributions reporting new techniques, work still in progress or lesser completed investigations should not exceed about 1 800 words including a brief abstract, tables, text, figures and references. No subheadings are to be included and the discussion should be as brief as possible.

Authors are requested to adhere strictly to the following directives. The contents must be arranged in an orderly way with suitable headings (not for short communications) for each subsection. The text and all tables should be prepared in a single MS Word file.

Title, authors and institutional affiliations. The title must be informative and brief. Provide the preferred name and initials of the author(s), the institution where the work was done and an email address for the corresponding author.

The Abstract should convey essential information such as rationale, objectives, methods, results and conclusions. It should not exceed 200 words. A maximum of five keywords must be provided in English in alphabetical order. The following subdivision of the body text is recommended: Introduction, Materials and methods, Results or Results and discussion, Discussion and/or Conclusions, Acknowledgements, References, Tables and Figures. Figure legends must be directly below each relevant figure.

Footnotes in the text should be avoided. The common name, followed by Latin binomials with the relevant authority in parentheses, must be shown for plants, insects and pathogens when first used in the abstract and text. At the first mention of a pesticide, except in the title and body of the abstract, give its approved common name first and follow it with the full chemical name. Use only the common name thereafter.

For units of measurements, use the SI system. Authors are referred to, and encouraged to make use of, the Publications Handbook and Style Manual (Ch.7) of the American Society of Agronomy for detailed guidelines on preferred units and their acceptable alternatives. The decimal point must be used instead of the decimal comma. For stylistic conventions, please refer to Presentation of Mathematical and Statistical Data available to download below.

Tables: Tables are numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals (Table 1) and should bear a short yet adequate descriptive caption. Units are to be clearly shown. Footnotes to tables are designated by lowercase letters. Tables should be presented on separate pages at the end of the manuscript.

Figures: Conform to the journal style paying particular attention to line thickness, font and figure proportions, taking into account the journals printed page size. Costs of redrawing figures may be charged. Please refer to Figure Guidelines for Authors: format, style and technical considerations available for download below. For digital photographs or scanned images the resolution should be at least 300 dpi for colour or greyscale artwork and a minimum of 600 dpi for black line drawings. MS Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) files are acceptable, but DO NOT EMBED Excel graphs or Powerpoint slides in a MS Word document, rather send the original files. Illustrations can be reproduced in colour, but only when essential, and subject to approval by the Editor-in-Chief. Non-essential use of colour will be charged at ZAR900 (excl. VAT) per page for African contributors and USD150 per page for contributors from elsewhere.

Geolocation information: Add a Geolocation Information section in a separate paragraph before the Acknowledgements. This will be used for indexing the study area accurately in JournalMap’s geographic literature database. View more information here.

References: Cite references in the text in chronological order (Patrick 1974; Allen et al. 1986). Use the abbreviation et al. for more than two authors. The reference list should comprise only published material and theses or reports normally available in libraries. References should be listed alphabetically by authors’ surnames. Journal names must be cited in full and italicised. References to conference abstracts are not permitted.

Examples of reference formats:

Allen SG, Taylor GA, Martin JM. 1986. Agronomic characterization of ‘Yogo’ hard red winter wheat plant height isolines. Agronomy Journal 178: 63–66.

Brommett JM. 1975. Isotope-ratio analysis in tracer investigations. In: White JB (ed.), Methods of soil analyses. Madison: American Society of Agronomy. pp 225–230.

Patrick AC. 1974. Root growth and development (2nd edn). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Refer to Reference Exemplars for Authors available for download below for additional examples of reference formats.

Final proofs will be emailed to authors as a PDF file to check and the Publishing Editor should be advised of any corrections within three days of receipt. A careful check should be made of the references, numbers of tables and figures.

Electronic reprints: Authors will be notified by email when their article is available for download from the journal website. 


Instructions for Authors

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Figure Guidelines for Authors

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Figure FAQs

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