Aremu-Dele Olufemi1*, Nduka Beatrice Abanum1, Sobowale Ibrahim Olalekan2, Adesanya Kehinde Ademola3, Olorundare Bunmi Olaoluwa4
1Agronomy Section, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B. 5244, Ibadan, Nigeria
2Plant Breeding Department, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B. 5244, Ibadan, Nigeria
3Department of Economics and Extension, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B. 5244, Ibadan, Nigeria
4Value Addition Research Department, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B. 5244, Ibadan, Nigeria
(Manuscript received 8 August 2022; accepted for publication 31 July 2023)
Abstract. Using the right growing media is pivotal for cultivating high-quality seedlings. While topsoil remains a prevalent choice in nurseries, there is a growing need to explore its effectiveness in cashew seedling production and find potential alternatives that might reduce our dependence on it. A three-month experiment was undertaken at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria’s nursery. The setup followed a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) incorporating ten treatment variations, each replicated thrice. These treatments involved two cashew nut types, Jumbo and Medium, and five distinct growing media: 100% Topsoil, 100% Sawdust, 75% Topsoil + 25% Sawdust, 50% Topsoil + 50% Sawdust, and 25% Topsoil + 75% Sawdust. For the procedure, each of these media was filled into perforated polythene bags measuring 30cm x 15cm, with one seed planted per bag. Data collected were on % emergence, morphological, shoot and root data. Data were subjected to ANOVA using SAS (version 2010) statistical package and means were separated using DMRT at (P≤0.05). Findings revealed no notable variance in percentage mean emergence at four weeks post-planting or in leaf count at the twelve-week mark. Control treatments (100% topsoil) for jumbo and medium had the shortest plant height, lowest number of leaves, seedling vigour, fresh root weight and taproot length. 100% topsoil as a growing medium for raising cashew seedlings should be discouraged as the experimented growing media offered statistically the same or improved emergence, morphology, and root growth development.