Rooting, growth and sustainability of yellow Ficus (Ficus retusa ‘Nitida’) as affected by growth media under nursery conditions
A greater percentage of yellow ficus (Ficus retusa ‘Nitida’) seedlings die out at the nursery production stage as they can be stressed easily. Rooting time is slow (30-60 DAP) and any disturbance in the root system could be fatal. Some die without any reason. Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the rooting, growth and sustainability of yellow ficus in varying growth media to determine the efficient growth media for its propagation. A cutting of yellow ficus each with eight (8) nodes was planted per black polythene nursery bag each filled with different growth media. The growth media utilised were: topsoil alone, sawdust alone, topsoil + cow dung (4:1), topsoil + poultry manure (4:1), cow dung + sawdust (1:4), sawdust + poultry manure + topsoil (1:1:3) and sawdust + cow dung + topsoil (1:1:3). The experimental design was Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with three replications. Significantly (P<0.05) highest vegetative and root length was produced by plants grown on a mixture of sawdust, cow dung and topsoil (1:1:3). Root length of Ficus retusa ‘Nitida’ was best supported by the medium topsoil alone (16.43, 12.16) > sawdust alone (15.18, 12.78) > sawdust + cow dung + topsoil (1:1:3) (8.35, 6.80) > topsoil + cow dung (4:1), (8.79, 4.71) > topsoil + poultry manure (4:1) (5.24., 4.65) > cow dung + sawdust (1:4) (3.00, 3.36) at both plantings. The growth medium Sawdust + cow dung + topsoil (1:1:3) significantly (at P<0.05) affected the number of leaves produced, root length and branch girth of yellow ficus. It supported the highest number of leaves produced. More branches were encouraged by the medium sawdust + cow dung + topsoil (1:1:3) (0.14, 0.15) (at both plantings) > topsoil alone (0.12, 0.13); > topsoil + cow dung (4:1) (0.11, 0.12) > topsoil + poultry manure (4:1) (0.11, 0.10). Significant growth media influences on the number of branches and branch lengths of this plant were observed. Sawdust + cow dung + topsoil (1:1:3) medium most favorably supported establishment and sustenance of yellow ficus plants.
Keywords: Ficus, Potting media, response, seedlings, sustenance, vegetative growth.
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