LATEEF HAMMED, AMUDALAT OLANIYAN, E.O. LUCAS
University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB), Department of Horticulture, Nigeria
Field establishment of cashew has been seriously hampered by long delay nursery periods which had led to transplanting of overgrown cashew seedlings with the attendant transplant mortality especially during the first dry season on the field. The experiment was thus set up to study field establishment of cashew transplants as affected by different nursery periods.
Four nursery periods were tried. These were cashew transplants at 3, 4, 8 and 12 weeks after sowing (WAS). The experiment was laid out in randomised complete block with 3 replicates. Records were taken on morphological plant parameters (plant height, stem circumference and number of leaves) of the transplants till flowering.
Cashew seedlings transplanted 12 WAS in the nursery had better morphological plant parameters compared to other transplants. At 3 months after transplanting (MAT) Cashew transplants of 12 WAS were 172.6%, 93.7% and 38.5% taller than transplants of 3, 4 and 8 WAS respectively and the differences were significant (p < 0.05). At 36 MAT, the magnitude of the differences fell to 27.7%, 10.6% and 20.1% in that order. Similarly, seedlings transplanted at 12 WAS had 245.4%, 151.9% and 99.4% more leaves than those of 3, 4 and 8 WAS at 3 MAT respectively. The percentage difference reduced to 53.6%, 69.5% and 31.7% at 24 MAT, in that order. The stem circumference of 12 WAS cashew transplants were 46.5%, 31.1% and 8.3% higher than the stem circumferences of cashew seedlings transplanted at 3, 4 and 8 WAS at 3 MAT respectively. However, the survival percentage of cashew seedlings transplanted at 12 WAS was least with 66.7% while that of 3 WAS was 75.0% within 12 MAT. No transplant mortality was incurred in seedlings transplanted into the field at 4 and 8 WAS. These two treatments recorded 100.0% seedling's survival within 12 MAT.
Cashew seedlings are best transplanted between 4 and 8 weeks after sowing in the nursery. This has to do with the encouraging survival rates of the transplants, thereby drastically reducing supply of the missing stands at the following planting season.
Keywords: Field performance, cashew, nursery period, survival rate