Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Nitrogen Effects on Yield and Quality of Watermelon {Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsumara & Nakai} Grown in the Coastal Regions of Kenya

Martin Maluki, Joshua Ogweno, Robert Morwani Gesimba

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/18821

Field experiment was conducted in KARI, Matuga, Kwale District in the coastal region of Kenya for two seasons to test the response of ‘sugar baby’ watermelon [Citrullus lanatus [Thumb]. Mansf.] to four  levels  of  nitrogen (0,40,80 and 120 kgN/ha). The treatments were laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Nitrogen had positive significant effect on days to flowering, sex expression ratio, number of fruits/plant, fruit weights, firmness, rind thickness, total soluble solids. Application of 80 and 120 kgN/ha increased the fruit sugar content by 23% and 28% compared with zero application. The total fruit yield was highest at 120 kgN/ha and lowest at zero application. For improved growth yield and quality of water melons in the coastal region of Kenya 120 kgN/ha was recommended.


Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Soil Aggregate Stability under Long Term Land Management System

Olaoye J. Olawale, S. T. Abu, Ogunwole O. Dorcas

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-7
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/19691

The influence of land management on soil structural stability of National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) farm Shika Zaria in Northern ecological zone of Nigeria was studied. Soil samples were collected from depth of 0-15 cm in fields under three perennial pasture fields not subjected to tillage for over 20 years since establishment using an adjacent continuously cultivated field as reference which has also been under cultivation for over 20 years. The long-term field experiment had four treatments: Three perennial pasture Digit grass “Digitaria smutsii’’, Signal grass “Bracheria decumbens’’, Gamba grass “Andropogon gayanus’’ fields and a continuously cultivated field with 12 samples collected from each plot. The highest dry aggregate stability means 47.40, 42.20, and 38.60 were observed under the perennial grasses land management in the 2-5mm aggregate class. The highest water stable aggregate stability means was also observed under the three perennial pastures following the same trend B.D>A.G>D.S 36.02, 35.18, and 33.68 as observed dry aggregate stability mean values in the 2-5 mm aggregate class range. The land management system under the Bracheria decumbens has 2.07, 0.99 as the highest values for dry mean weight diameter, wet geometric mean diameter, while 0.57 and 1.00 were respectively observed as the highest value for wet mean weight diameter and dry geometric mean diameter under the Digitaria smutsii land management system. Fields under the pasture grasses are higher in organic matter and total nitrogen. The highest C/N ratio value of 1:7.9 was also observed under the pasture grasses fields. The data obtained from the experiment showed that land management under pasture grasses increases the organic matter content, total nitrogen content and consequently increases the structural stability of the soil on long-term basis.


Open Access Original Research Article

Ecological Structure and Fruit Production of Blood Plum (Haematostaphis barteri Hook. F) Subpopulations in Benin

Bienvenue Nawan Sourou, Christine Ajokè If etayo Nougbodé Ouinsav, Nestor Sokpon

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-12
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/22059

Aims 1: To assess the ecological structure and fruits production of Haematostaphis barteri (Blood plum) to provide requisite information for a better management and conservation of the tree subpopulations in Benin.

Study Design: Ecological structure and fruit production were evaluated in randomized design.

Duration of Study: This study was conducted in the department of Atacora and University of Parakou, Benin 2012-2015.

Methodology: The ecological structure of Haematostaphis barteri subpopulations was studied on the basis of forest inventory surveys performed in forty six (46) 1-ha plots randomly installed and Haematostaphis barteri fruit production was quantified on the basis of a random sampling of the main branches of 126 trees at random from all of these subpopulations.

Results: Four subpopulations of Haematostaphis barteri were identified based on dendrometric variables and among trees distance. Diameter and height classes distribution of the species in each subpopulation adjusted to Weibull distribution showed a bell shaped curve with left dissymmetry, characteristic of young stands (form coefficient between 1 and 3.6). Stand density varies from 12 to 18 stems ha-1. Stand basal area varies from 0.27 to 0.48 m² ha-1 while mean diameter varies from 16.28 to 19.37 cm. Average number of fruit per panicle varies from 15 to 28 fruits and average fruit number per tree was estimated from 2325 to 7879 fruits. The DBH, TH, average number of panicles per branch and average number of fruit per panicle showed a highly significant difference (= .000) between subpopulations.

Conclusion: Soil texture, altitude and topography are the factors that best discriminate the different subpopulations and better explain variations among these subpopulations with respect to their structural and production characteristics.  Despite the similar production in fruits of Haematostaphis barteri subpopulations that of Touncountouna is however the most productive in terms of the number of fruits.

Open Access Original Research Article

Participatory Selection of Cowpea Varieties in Kilifi County of Kenya

J. B. Ndiso, G. N. Chemining’wa, F. M. Olubayo, H. M. Saha

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-10
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/21843

Aim: To identify farmer preferred cowpea varieties in coastal lowland Kenya.

Study Design: The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete blocks design with three replications.

Place and Study Duration: Tezo location, Bahari division, Kilifi County, Kenya during July – October 2011/2012 cropping seasons.

Methodology: Thirty nine farmers (30 female and 9 male) from three farmer groups in Tezo location, Kilifi County participated in the establishment and evaluation of 11 cowpea varieties using their own selection criteria. The varieties were evaluated at flowering, podding, maturity and post harvest stages. Farmers’ cowpea selection criteria before flowering and at podding were high grain yield, drought tolerance, early maturity, ease of harvesting and leafiness.

Results: Kutambaa, KVU 27-1 and Nyeupe were rated top varieties at these stages. Farmers’ selection criteria at maturity and after harvest included grain yield, color, taste and cooking duration. KVU 419, Kaima koko and Nyeupe were rated top varieties at these stages. Grain yield varied from 3.3 t ha-1 (KVU 419) to 0.48 t ha-1 (Kaima koko).

Conclusion: The results of this study have demonstrated the need for plant breeders to integrate grain color, taste and cooking duration traits in cowpea improvement programmes. Integration of KVU 419, Nyeupe, KVU 27-1 and Kutambaa cowpea varieties into the maize-based system is likely to improve cowpea productivity in Kilifi County, Kenya.

Open Access Original Research Article

Responses of Mucuna flagellipes to Phosphorus Fertilizer Rates in an Ultisol

O. A. Agba, E. E. Ikenganyia, J. E. Asiegbu

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-9
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2016/20161

Two field experiments were conducted to investigate the responses of Mucuna flagellipes to single super phosphate fertilizer rates. The experiment consisted of five rates of single super phosphate fertilizer namely 0 kg P ha-1, 30 kg P ha-1, 40 kg P ha-1, 50 kg P ha-1 and 70 kg P ha-1 laid out in a randomized complete block design and replicated four times in 2010 and 2011 cropping season at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Department of Agronomy, Cross River State University of Science and Technology, Obubra, Cross River State, South East Nigeria. The obtained results showed that number of leaves per plant, plant height, leaf area index, number of nodules per plant and nodule dry weight per plant were most significantly (p < 0.05) pronounced at 164 days after planting at the highest application rate of 70 kg P ha-1than the other rates in 2010 and 2011 planting season. Pod yield per plant, seed yield per plant and seed yield per hectare were significantly (p < 0.05) the highest at 50 kg P ha-1. Generally, there was a consistent significant difference (p < 0.05) among the single super phosphate fertilizer rates on the growth and yield of Mucuna flagellipes. Application of 50 kg P ha-1 and 70 kg P ha-1of single super phosphate fertilizer should be used for the cultivation of Mucuna flagellipes.


Open Access Original Research Article

Leaf Epidermal Structures and Stomata Ontogeny in Some Members of the Family Cucurbitaceae

Sauban Musa Jibril, Bello Hassan Jakada

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-9
DOI: 10.9734/ijpss/2016/v9i22851

Aim: The aim of this research work is to study the leaf epidermal structures and stomata ontogeny of some members of the family Cucurbitaceae.

Study Design: Research Article.

Place and Duration of Study: Department of Biological Science, Bayero University Kano (BUK), between November 2012 and February, 2013.

Methodology: The leaves of Citrullus lanatus, Cucumis sativus and Cucurbita pepo were collected from Imawa Village of Kura Local Government Kano state with a global positioning of N 11º 48' 14.6' ' E 008º 48' 45.4''. Epidermal peels of both abaxial (lower) and adaxial (upper) surfaces were made by placing the leaf on a clean glass slab with the surfaces to be studied facing downward. The specimens were irrigated with water holding it downward from one end, the epidermis above the desired surfaces was scrapped off carefully with a sharp razor blade, loosen cells were washed away from the epidermal peel with the aid of soft camel hairbrush and water until the desired epidermis below was reached. The epidermal peels were mounted in glass slide stained with aqueous solution of safranin for 4-8 minutes, then rinsed carefully in water to remove excess stain, a drop of 50% paraffin was added and examined using light power microscope at (x40) objective magnification. For the study of stomata types, epidermal peel was made using mature leaves and for stomata ontogeny fresh immature leaves were used. Measurement of stomata was made with the aid of an ocular micrometer and stage micrometer. The data obtained of lower surface was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) at 5% level of significance to determine the least significant difference (LSD).

Results: Stomata Types: In Citrullus lanatus mature stomata are anomocytic, In Cucumis sativus the stomata are anisocytic and present on abaxial (lower) surface only and in Cucurbita pepo are anomocytic stomata.

Epidermal Cells and Trichomes: In Citrullus lanatus epidermal cells on lower and upper surface is irregular in shape, unicellular non glandular epidermal hair (trichome) were present in upper surface, Cucumis sativus the epidermal cells were polygonal or irregular in shape, unicellular non-glandular trichomes were present in upper and lower surface.

Stomatal Ontogeny: In all the species studied mesogenous stomata development was observed

Conclusion: The species can be distinguished by the type of stomata and variation in stomatal index, there were similarities based on stomata development between the three species.