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The influence of shade and organic fertilizer treatments on the physiology and establishment of Theobroma cacao clones

Acheampong, K., Hadley, P., Daymond, A. J. and Adu-Yeboah, P. (2015) The influence of shade and organic fertilizer treatments on the physiology and establishment of Theobroma cacao clones. American Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 6 (6). pp. 347-360. ISSN 2231-0606

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To link to this item DOI: 10.9734/AJEA/2015/15206


Aims: This experiment aimed to determine whether the soil application of organic fertilizers can help the establishment of cacao and whether shade alters its response to fertilizers. Study Design: The 1.6 ha experiment was conducted over a period of one crop year (between April 2007 and March 2008) at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. It involved four cacao genotypes (T 79/501, PA 150, P 30 [POS] and SCA 6), three shade levels (‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘heavy’) and two fertilizer treatments (‘no fertilizer’, and ‘140 kg/ha of cacao pod husk ash (CPHA) plus poultry manure at 1,800 kg/ha). The experiment was designed as a split-plot with the cacao genotypes as the main plot factor and shade x fertilizer combinations as the sub-plots. Methodology: Gliricidia sepium and plantains (Musa sapientum) were planted in different arrangements to create the three temporary shade regimes for the cacao. Data were collected on temperature and relative humidity of the shade environments, initial soil nutrients, soil moisture, leaf N, P and K+ contents, survival, photo synthesis and growth of test plants. Results: The genotypes P 30 [POS] and SCA 6 showed lower stomatal conductance under non-limiting conditions. In the rainy seasons, plants under light shade had the highest CO2 assimilation rates. However, in the dry season, plants under increased shade recorded greater photosynthetic rates (P = .03). A significant shade x fertilizer interaction (P = .001) on photosynthesis in the dry season showed that heavier shade increases the benefits that young cacao gets from fertilizer application in that season. Conversely, shade should be reduced during the wet seasons to minimize light limitation to assimilation. Conclusion: Under ideal weather conditions young cacao exhibits genetic variability on stomatal conductance. Also, to optimize plant response to fertilizer application shade must be adjusted taking the prevailing weather condition into account.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:41776
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cacao; shade; organic fertilizer; photosynthesis; establishment.


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