Influence of saw dust and plastic mulch on soil physical properties, growth and yield of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench)
Soil physical properties and crop yield may vary in their responses to different mulching materials. Therefore, field studies were conducted during 2018 and 2019 cropping seasons to evaluate the effect of different mulch types on selected soil physical properties, growth and yield of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench). The experiment consisted of six treatments (saw dust applied at the rate of 2.5, 5.0 and 10 tonha-1 and plastic mulch (black and transparent) and a control (no mulch) arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Application of mulch reduced bulk density, increased total porosity and gravimetric moisture content, growth and pod yield of okra compared with the control. In 2019, 2.5, 10 t ha-1 and transparent plastic reduced soil bulk density compared with other mulch treatments. Total porosity was significantly (p≤0.05) higher with different mulch application than the control. Soil temperature was significantly higher under black plastic mulch than the control and other mulch treatments. Growth and pod yield of okra were significantly (p≤0.05) higher with mulch application relative to the control. Black plastic mulch recorded significantly taller plants compared with the control and other mulch treatments in 2018. Saw dust mulch applied at10 t ha-1 produced taller plants compared with 2.5 and 5.0 t ha-1. Stem diameter had higher values on 10 t ha-1 compared with the control in 2018. In 2019, pod yield of okra was higher on black plastic mulch compared with the control. Therefore, the use of saw dust mulch at 10 t ha-1 improved soil physical properties while black plastic mulch maximized growth and yield of okra.