The effect of Leucaena leucocephala mulch on the growth and yield of irrigated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentus Mill.)

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The research was conducted at Akumadan vegetable irrigation project in the Ashanti region of Ghana from 12th December, 1994 to 7th April 1995 with the following objectives: a) To evaluate the effect of Leucaena leucocephala mulch on the yield and yield components of irrigated tomato. b) To assess the fertilizer replacement potential of Leucaena mulch. c) To determine from the treatments, the most economic alternative for tomato production. Experimental design used was a split plot with fertilizer as the main plot treatment and leucaena mulch as the subplot treatment. There were three blocks with 4 levels of fertilizer (0, 50, 100 and 150 kgN/ha) and three levels of leucaena mulch (0, 5 and 10 tons/ha) The results show that leucaena mulch has a significant effect on the growth and development, fruit set, fruit weight, reproductive efficiency and fruit quality of tomato. Leucaena mulch also showed significant effect on weed control, soil moisture content and soil bulk density but not on soil chemical properties. Along with these were significant effects shown by fertilizer/mulch combination and by fertilizer alone. In general, leucaena mulch showed a high fertilizer replacement potential, better exploited at mulch levels of 10 tons/ha fresh mulch. At 10 cons/ha mulch level combined with 50 kgN/ha, yields were as economic a applying fertilizer alone a high rate of 150 kgN/ha. It was also realised that no extra rewards were gained by increasing fertilizer rates to 100 kgN/ha combined with 10 tons/ha mulch. Using the 1995 production figures, profitability margins tuined to be higher with a hiq5 supplementation of chemica fertilizer with mulch, with tons/ha mulch combined with 150 KgN/ha giving the highest B/C ratio.
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 award of the Degree of Master of Science in Agroforestry, 1996