Knowledge and understanding of the factors affecting germination and growth of tree species is of paramount importance for enhancing the efforts towards afforestation. Hence, the prime objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of seed treatment methods, provenance and size on germination and early nursery performance of Olea europaea. The experiment was arranged in a factorial combination and laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications. Factor A was seed treatment methods (soaking in three levels of hot water, soaking in four levels of concentrated H2SO4, heating with fire, de-coating and control). Factor B was two seed provenances and factor C was two seed size classes. Interaction of seed size and provenance had no significant effect (p > 0.05) on all parameters. Different seed soaking method showed highly significant difference (p < 0.01) in all parameters. Seed de-coating had maximum value for all parameters but seeds treated with fire had lowest value. Hence, the germination percentages under nursery condition were 85.8 and 2.5% for de-coated and fire treated seeds, respectively. It was concluded that seeds from both provenances and seed size class germinated and were established equally; de-coating improved germination and early nursery performance; whereas, fire affected germination and early nursery performance negatively. Seed de-coating has to be done widely for the improvement of germination and early establishment of Olea europaea and further research is needed on the use of fire for breaking dormancy.
Key words: Dormancy, germination, Olea europaea, provenance, seed treatment, seed.
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