The effects of L. Leucocephala and G. Sepium mulches (and their mixtures) on the growth and yield of okra (abelmoschus esculentus)

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As part of the effort geared towards finding solutions to plant nutrition problems, the research was conducted to determine the effect of the mulches of Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium and a Mixture of both mulches as biomass transfer on the growth and yield of Okra (Abelmosthus esculentus (L) Moench). The research was conducted at the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources farm on nutrient poor Orthic-Ferric Acrisol in the moist semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with four replications. The mulches were applied at the rate of 0 ton/ha, 5 ton/ha and 10 ton /ha. Leucaena mulch contained a higher concentration of nitrogen (3.15%) than gliricidia mulch which contained 2.66% Nitrogen. On the other hand gliricidia mulch had a higher concentration of Potassium (2.12%) than leucaena which contained 1.27 % Potassium. The mulches did not significantly improve the chemical properties of the soil, but improved the growth rate and yield of okra. Generally, the higher the amount of mulch applied, the better the growth and yield of okra. However, equal amounts of the different mulches did not show any statistical difference in plant height and plant dry weight. Ten tons per hectare of mulch application reduced the number of days to 50% flowering by approximately 3 days. Okra plants mulched with gliricidia mulch had a high concentration of Potassium in their shoots. At the rate of 5 t/ha and 10 t/ha, gliricidia mulch gave higher yields than leucaena and the mixture. Mulching with 10 t/ha of gliricidia gave the highest yield of 9.82 t/ha, representing an increase of 44% in yield over the control (No mulch). Ten tons per hectare each of leucaena and the Mixture gave a yield of 8.39 t/ha and 8.52 t/ha representing an increase of about 35% and 36% in yield respectively over the control. Ten t/ha of gliricidia mulch applied just before planting gave the best yield. The experiment showed that, although mulches of leucaena, gliricidia and their mixtures may not improve the chemical properties of nutrient poor soils within a short time, they can improve the growth and yield of vegetables like okra.
A Thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Master of Science Degree in Agroforestry, 2000