Effects of different methods of breaking dormancy and seed germination rate in date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.)
Seed dormancy in palms, date palm inclusive have continued to be challenging especially when cultivating through seeds. This study evaluated different methods of breaking dormancy and seed germination rate in P. dactylifera. Using Completely Randomize Design, two varieties of P. dactylifera were treated with three treatments comprising sulphuric acid, hot water, cold water and control. Result showed that all the three treatments significantly (p < 0.05) affect the germination rate and early seedling growth of P. dactylifera. From the results, acid treatments had the highest (10) effect on the germination rate and early seedling growth of P. dactylifera, followed by cold water (6), hot water (2) and control (1), respectively. Furthermore, results found all the treatments to have no significant (p>0.05) effect on seedling growth parameters (fresh and dry) weight. However, seed treated with sulphuric acid had less weight, compared to other three treatments. This study demonstrates that seed dormancy in P. dactylifera can best be overcomed by immersing the seeds in concentrated sulphuric acid for three minutes. However, soaking in hot or cold water for five minutes for 24 hours may yield fruitful results. Application of hot and cold water to overcome P. dactylifera seed dormancy is crucial to minimize the cost of production using sulphuric acid. It is recommended that in depth research should be conducted to find out if the use of sulphuric acid could affect the DNA sequence of P. dactylifera seed.
Keywords: Dormancy, germination, phoenix dactylifera, seed, seedling growth