A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of benzyladenine (BA) on fruit set and mineral nutrition of morula (Sclerocarya birrea subspecies caffra). Benzyladenine was applied when the fruitlets were 8 to 10 mm in diameter at concentrations of 0, 50, 100 or 150 mg/l. Application of BA to morula fruit trees significantly (p < 0.001) reduced fruit set of morula trees by between 48 to 67%. Morula tree sprayed with BA had significantly higher leaf and fruit mineral content than control trees. The fruit calcium (Ca) (p < 0.05), magnesium (Mg) (p < 0.05), nitrogen (N) (p < 0.01) and potassium (K) (p < 0.001) increased significantly with increasing BA concentrations. The results showed that BA can be used as a chemical agent to reduce crop load and improve the morula tree mineral uptake and mineral partitioning to the leaves and fruits.
Key words: Sclerocarya birrea subspecies caffra, benzyladenine, fruit set, mineral content.
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