Effect of growing medium on early growth and survival of Uapaca kirkiana Müell Arg. seedlings in Malawi

  • J Mhango
  • FK Akinnifesi
  • SA Mng’omba
  • G Sileshi
Keywords: Forest soil, root collar diameter, seedling mortality, soil aeration.

Abstract

The use of appropriate growing medium has been an important factor influencing growth and survival of seedlings in the nursery. Raising Uapaca kirkiana rootstocks from seeds has been a challenge as
pencil-size stem thickness is required before grafting can be done. An experiment was carried out with the objective of determining an effective growing medium that ensures survival and rapid growth of U.
kirkiana seedlings. Ten different combinations of sand, forest soil and sawdust amended with four different levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash fertilizer were evaluated. The result showed that the
growing medium comprising 75% forest soil and 25% sawdust produced the tallest seedlings with larger root collar diameter and higher survival at ten months after planting. Amending the same
growing medium with fertilizer improved the root collar diameter of the seedlings. It is concluded that a growing medium comprising 75% forest soil and 25% sawdust and amended with NPK fertilizer was
superior in improving U. kirkiana seedling growth to attain a suitable diameter for grafting within ten months.
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eISSN: 1684-5315