Effects of Plantain (Musa species) as Shade on the Growth Performance of Cocoa Seedlings in the Nursery at Ibadan, Southwest, Nigeria


Nursery experiment was carried out at Ibadan, Nigeria between May 2004 and October 2005 to evaluate the use of plantain as a permanent cocoa nursery shade crop. Ibadan is located between latitude 07?10'N and longitude 03?52'E and lies at an altitude of about 122 metres above the sea level. The treatments consisted of six shade regimes provided by plantain spaced at 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and, 3.1 m apart, the control had no shade at all (open planted cocoa). Each treatment had one hundred cocoa seedlings planted in polythene bag filled with topsoil and laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) in three replications. Data on vegetative growth of cocoa seedlings were taken on monthly basis, while plantain height, girth, number of leaves, bunch weight, number of fingers and market value of each treatment were evaluated. Light intensity under each of the treatment was taken using light meter. Result showed that cocoa seedlings under plantain shade planted at 1.0 m and 1.5 m apart were higher in height relative to control and other treatments considered, shade regimes provided by spacing at 3.1 × 3.1 m and 2.5 m × 2.5 m apart on the other hand produced higher values for stem diameter and leaf area respectively compared to other treatments, the least values were recorded under 1.0 m × 1.0 m apart. Seedlings under 2.5 m and 3.1 m spacing were significantly (p > 0.05) higher for these parameters than other treatments. Higher incidence of weed was also recorded from the control. Plantain bunch obtained from 2.5 m and 3.1 m apart was higher than other treatments in terms of weight, number of fingers and market value, while the control (no plantain shade) did not give any economic returns. Hence, plantain planted at spacing of 2.5 m or 3.1 m apart could be recommended to the cocoa farmers in Nigeria as nursery shade instead of conventional method of using bamboo and palm fronds yearly without any additional economic return.

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Olatunde, F. , Oaikhena, I. , Ojo, A. , Olufemi, A. and Babatunde, A. (2014) Effects of Plantain (Musa species) as Shade on the Growth Performance of Cocoa Seedlings in the Nursery at Ibadan, Southwest, Nigeria. Natural Science, 6, 447-453. doi: 10.4236/ns.2014.66043.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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