Ipomea asarifolia (Desr), A Potential Cover Crop for Soil Fertility Improvement in The Sudan Savanna Region, Nigeria

  • AA Abdullahi
  • SA Ibrahim
  • S Yusuf
  • M Audu
  • N Abdu
  • SS Noma
  • H Shuaibu
Keywords: Ipomea asarifolia, Cover crop, soil chemical properties, soil fertility


The effect of Ipomea asarifolia on physico - chemical properties of the soils at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto main campus, in the Sudan Savanna of Nigeria was investigated. The study determined the effect of the plant on some physical and chemical properties of soils, found out the nutrient retention ability of the plant in the soils and the variation of the effect with distance within the plants’ canopy. A total of 48 samples were collected from four different sites within Usmanu Danfodiyo University main Campus; VC complex area, University stadium area, Behind new library area and opposite IBB centre area and four distances from the plant (control, plant base, 0.5 m and 1 m from the plant base). Samples were collected for use in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) experiment with three replicates. Soil pH, Organic C, CEC, total N, available P, K, Ca and Mg concentrations were determined, particle size analysis was also carried out. The results were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA), where significant F values were obtained, the means were separated by Duncan multiple range tests (DMRT). The difference among the sites and the distances were found to be statistically significant (P < 0.01) for the chemical properties determined. The soils of the University stadium area had the highest CEC and total N; 4.28 g kg-1 and 0.41 g kg-1 respectively, while the soils of the IBB centre area had the least organic carbon, CEC, and available phosphorus; 3.23 g kg-1, 2.00 cmol kg-1, 9.00 mg kg-1 respectively, with the effect almost following the order; University stadium area > VC complex area > New library area > IBB centre area. On the other hand, the effect on all the parameters was found to decrease with distance from the plant with the base of the plant having the highest organic C, CEC, total N, available P and exchangeable K, Ca and Mg; 6.83 g kg-1, 5.00 cmol kg-1, 0.42 g kg-1, 10.82 mg kg-1 and 0.26, 0.50 and 0.97 cmol kg-1 respectively, while the control soils had the least values; 3.46 g kg-1, 4.00 cmol kg-1, 0.12 g kg-1, 7.43 mg kg-1, 0.21, 0.38, and 0.45 cmol kg-1 respectively. The effect was attributed to the accumulation of organic matter around the plant and its ability to prevent erosion by both water and wind thus retaining nutrients making it a suitable cover crop for soil fertility improvement.

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print ISSN: 0794-5698