|Authors: ||I. Aiyelaagbe, B. Ogunyemi, F. Dada|
|Keywords: ||'Pink Solo', organic fertilizer, organic fruits, southwestern Nigeria|
There is an increased demand for organic fruits such as papaya (Carica papaya L) by health-conscious consumers in Nigeria.
Papaya features in low input production systems thus, it is currently undersupplied.
To redress the shortage, productivity of papaya orchards needs to be intensified through fertilizer application.
Consequently, a greenhouse experiment was conducted between June and September2015 and repeated March and July 2016 at the Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan, Nigeria to investigate the response of ‘Pink Solo’ papaya seedlings to ‘Gateway’ organic fertilizer (GOF). In both trials GOF was applied pre-plant in a single dose following a completely randomized design with four replicates at rates equivalent to 5, 10, 20 t ha‑1 in the first trial and 10, 20 and 40 t ha‑1 in the second.
Control plants received no fertilizer (0 t ha‑1). Data was collected fortnightly on plant height, canopy diameter, leaf area and number of nodes.
Total dry matter accumulation and foliar nutrient concentration were determined at the end of the study.
In 2015, compared with control, organic fertilizer at 5-20 t GOF ha‑1 did not significantly (P>0.05) influence vegetative growth except plant height and total dry matter accumulation where 20 t GOF elicited significantly higher values than control, 5 or 10 t GOF ha‑1. In 2016, 40 t GOF ha‑1 significantly increased canopy diameter and leaf area compared with control, 10 or 20 t GOF ha‑1, but its effects did not differ significantly from these rates with regards to plant height, number of nodes and total dry matter accumulation.
Foliar nutrient concentration increased with rate of GOF application but it relationship with dry matter accumulation were nonlinear.
Since dry matter accumulation is a strong index of plant growth, application of 20 t ha‑1 of GOF is recommended for optimum growth of ‘Pink Solo’ papaya.
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