An evaluation of cajanus cajan mulch and fertilizer application on the growth and yield of tomato

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The experiment was conducted at the Tono Irrigation Project site in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The objectives were to investigate the effect of Cajanus cajan mulch and fertilizer application on the growth and yield of tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum mill.) and also to find out the effect of pruning height and pruning frequency on biomass yield and survival of pigeonpea. Both experiments were carried out using the split plot design, with treatments randomised within each block. In the first experiment, fertilizer was applied at three levels (OkgN/ha. 75kgN/ha and l50kgN/ha) as main plot treatments and Cajanus cajan mulch at two levels (0tons/ha and 15tons/ha) as sub plot treatments. In the second experiment, three pruning heights (25. 50, 100cm) were the main plot treatments, whilst monthly and tri- monthly pruning frequency were the sub-plot treatments. Mulch, fertilizer and mulch/fertilizer interaction had a significant effect on the growth (height and leaf area) of tomato. Tomato growth was highest at the highest rate of mulch and fertilizer interaction (1 5tons/ha and I 50kgN/ha). The effect of fertilizer treatment on plant height and leaf area at 6 WAP showed an increase of 21.7% and 57.1% respectively over the control treatment. On the other hand, mulch increased plant height and leaf area by 12.1 and 14.2% respectively over the control. Highest yield (9.35tons/ha) was obtained at the highest rate of mulch/fertilizer interaction (1 5tons/ha and 1 50kgN/ha) and lowest (2.8tons/ha) with respect to the control (No mulch and No fertilizer). However, marketable yield was highest (9.l2tohs/ha) at half rate of fertilizer and mulch interaction (75kgN/ha and 15 tons/ha). Mulch, fertilizer and mulch/fertilizer interaction influenced soil moisture content and soil temperature. Mulch (15tonsiha) and fertilizer (150kgN/ha) interaction increased soil moisture content by 10.9% while soil temperature was decreased by 20% over the control treatment at 8WAP. Soil chemical properties were not significantly affected by mulch and fertilizer treatment, however, there was a slight increase in all the treatments with respect to the control. Economic analysis shows that half rate of fertilizer application (75kgN/ha) and mulch (1 5tons/ha) recorded the highest profit with respect to the other treatments. Dry matter yield of pigeonpea was highest (1.24 tons/ha) at 100cm pruning height and tri-monthly pruning frequency while, 25cm pruning height/monthly pruning frequency recorded the lowest (0.17 tons/ha). The highest percentage survival of pigeonpea (42.5%) was recorded at I 00cm pruning height/tri-monthly pruning frequency and lowest (6%) at 25cm pruning height/monthly pruning frequency. Generally, Mulch and fertilizer application had a significant effect on growth and yield of tomato. Therefore, the use of mulch would reduce the dependence on inorganic fertilizers and ensure a sustained improvement in tomato yield.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Agroforestry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science in Agroforestry, 2002