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Mulching and Irrigation Practices on Cocoa Seedling Survival and Field Establishment

Journal: Journal of Agriculture and Crops (Vol.6, No. 8)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ; ; ;

Page : 126-132

Keywords : Cocoa; Irrigation; Mulching; Survival; Field establishment; Ghana.;

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Irrigation experiments of cocoa tend to concentrate on yield of matured cocoa trees compared to field establishment of young seedlings. Seedling survival leading to optimum population density are fundamental to obtaining maximum yield of crops. The aim of this experiment was to determine the effect of mulching and irrigation on survival of hybrid cocoa clone raised in three different growing media during the establishment phase. The experimental design was a 2 x 2 x 3 factorial arranged in a split-split plot design, with irrigation as the main plot factor, mulching as the subplot factor and growing media as the sub-sub plot factor with three replications. Cocoa pod husk (CPH) was used as the mulching material and each plant received 5kg at a rate of 5.6 t/ha. Irrigation was done daily by applying 4L of water except when it rains. Data was collected on soil moisture, plant height, leaf number, stem girth and plant survival. Results indicated that irrigation and mulching significantly (P<0.01) enhanced soil moisture. Cocoa seedlings raised in topsoil, mulched and irrigated significantly (P<0.05) increased survival rate (94.5%) compared to seedlings raised in soil without irrigation and no mulching (47.1%). Similarly, the survival rate of seedlings raised in growing media M2, mulched and irrigated (93.0%) was significantly (P<0.05) higher than similar seedlings without irrigation (73.4%). However, the survival rate of seedlings raised in M3 without mulching but irrigated was significantly (<0.05) higher 92.1% compared to seedlings raised in M3 mulched and irrigated 67.1%. Irrigation is very important in ensuring high survival rate during early field establishment. Mulching with cocoa pod husk without irrigation did not improve cocoa seedling survival.

Last modified: 2020-11-03 19:10:00