Low survival and slow growth rate of multipurpose trees and shrubs as a result of poor quality tree seedlings hamper efforts by small-scale farmers in development of effective agroforestry systems. These may be attributed to the chemical and physical properties of the soil growing media used. With the current high and growing demand for quality agroforestry trees and shrubs, farmers are increasingly raising planting stock on their farms. However, insufficient technical knowledge has often hindered success. Such growing media contribute to physical and chemical conditions that may be inappropriate for quality seedling development. Slow growth and survival rate lead to extra costs in replacement planting as well as delayed benefits. This study assessed the effect of chemical and physical properties of-farm tree nursery growing medium on Tamarindus indica seedling quality and growth rate. Compost based growing medium gave higher seed germination percentage as compared to sand and farm medium. Compost based growing medium also gave higher seedlings survival rate and height growth than sand and farm soil. It also gave seedlings with higher sturdiness quotient. The physical and chemical properties of on-farm tree nursery growing media that had the greatest influence on T. indica seedling quality were the aeration pore volume, total pore volume, wet bulk density, total nitrogen, organic carbon, magnesium and calcium.
Key words: Growing media, height growth, sturdiness quotient, Tamarindus indica, compost, sand, farm soil.
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