Pre-heading growth performance of plantain suckers as influenced by irrigation and mulching
AbstractGrowth performance of plantain (Musa AAB) sword sucker, in response to mulching, irrigation and irrigation-cum-mulching, was studied over a period of 12 post-planting months. Leaf formation was enhanced most by irrigation-cum-mulching treatment, a maximum leaf extrusion rate of about 3.5 leaves per month being assumed at 8th post-planting week, compared with a range of 1.5-2.8 leaves per month in the control plants. Mulching supported shoot growth more than irrigation during the rainy season, the peak rates of leaf extrusion being four and three leaves month¹, respectively. In the dry season, however, while the parameter was reduced to three in the irrigated plants, it dropped to about two in the mulched plants. Soil penetration by the roots was not significantly influenced by the treatments applied during the initial six postplanting, raining months. The trait was reduced by irrigation and irrigation-cum-mulching at the 9th to 12th post-planting months, a period squarely within the dry season. From a general initial level of 35cm depth, the plant root extended to 85cm in the control plants, but was curtailed to 77.4cm by mulching, 64.2cm by irrigation and 53.1cm by irrigation-cum-mulching eventually. Although mulching was as effective as mulching-cum-irrigation in supporting sucker growth during the rainy season, supplementary irrigation during the dry season would be essential.
Key Words: Plantain Musa species; mulching; irrigation
Moor J. Agric. Res. Vol.4(1) 2003: 66-70