Effect of weed control treatments and cutting frequency on weed dry matter and biomass in relation to the growth and yield of fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentialis Hook F)
Two experiments were conducted during the rainy seasons of 2012 and 2013 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to evaluate the growth and leaf yield of Telfairia occidentials Hook F. as influenced by weed control treatments and cutting frequencies. The experimental design was a randomized complete block arranged in a split plot with three replications. The cutting frequencies (0, 2 and 4 weekly cuttings) represented the main plot, while the sub-plots were six weed control treatments namely weed free, weedy check, hoe weeding at 4 weekly intervals, pre-emergence application of pendimenthalin at 2.25 kg a.i./ha, black polyethylene mulch and sawdust mulch at 57.2 tonnes/ha. The results of the two years were pooled after Bartellet tests for significance. Data on weed density, weed biomass, weed control efficiency, vine length, number of vines per plant, number of leaves per plant, leaf area, fresh leaf weight per plant and leaf yield were subjected to analysis of variance. Cutting intervals were not significant in most of the parameters assessed. Plots mulched with black polyethylene significantly (p < 0.05) performed better than the other weed control treatments in terms of lower number of weeds (3.11/m2), lower weed biomass (3g/m2) higher weed control efficiency (98.61%), higher crop fresh leaf yield per hectare (2.34kg ha-1). Cutting frequency at 4 weekly interval and mulching with black polyethylene within the confines of the study was therefore, recommended for leaf yield production of Telfairia occidentalis.
Key words: Fluted pumpkin, growth, leaf yield, weed biomass, weed control treatments.