Banana is the leading fruit crop in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It represents the second most important fruit crop after date palm in the Sultanate of Oman, a subtropical arid country in the Middle East. Banana is grown as an intercrop throughout Oman but it is commercially cultivated on a large scale in the Dhofar (southern) region of and in Al-Batinah (coastal) region in the North. A field experiment was carried out in the traditional banana growing district, Al-Suwaiq, in Al-Batinah Region, during 2005-2006. The objective of the study was to determine the proper rate of NPK fertilizers that would maximize the potential yield of commercially-grown banana (Musa acuminata Colla, Cavendish cv. 'Williams'). Three levels of chemical fertilizers were applied, viz. N (300, 600 and 900 g/ mat/yr), P (50, 100 and150 g/mat/yr) and K (250, 500 and 750 g/mat/yr) in addition to non-fertilized control (no NPK applied) treatment. The results indicated that vegetative growth parameters (that is, leaf number, leaf area, stem height, and stem circumference) of non- fertilized control plants were neither significantly different nor produced better vegetative growth when compared to fertilized plants. The fertilizer treatment T3 consisting of N (600 g/mat /yr), P (100 g/mat /yr) and K (500 g/mat /yr) numerically influenced the yield and fruit characteristics like total bunch weight, middle-hand weight and number of fingers per middle-hand, of ‘Williams’ banana as compared to other treatments. Hence, this fertilizer dose of NPK was recommended for cultivation of ‘Williams’ banana in northern coastal region of Oman.
Key words: Bunch weight, fingers, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, Musa spp. arid-region, Oman.
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