Effects of Sowing Methods and Plant Population Densities on Root Development of Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) Seedlings in the Nursery
Effect of population densities and sowing methods were tested on root development of cacao seedlings in the nursery in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 sowing season at the teaching and research farm of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. The experiments were carried out using three population densities and three sowing methods. There were no observed significant difference in the root dry weight and the numbers of lateral roots produced per plant in all the treatments. Seedlings raised in polythene pots showed a significantly higher mean difference of tap root length and girth over other sowing methods. However, seedlings sown in groves and those in broadcasting showed a significant difference in lateral root length over seedlings sown in polythene pots. The rate of plant root distribution was affected by population densities with more uniform distribution along the tap root to plant population of 104.2 seeds m-2 and highest concentration towards the surface in plant population of 52.08 seeds m-2. Population densities of 69.5 and 104.2 seeds m-2 enhanced root mass density per unit volume of soil. Also, sowing in groves and by broadcasting improves root mass densities over sowing in polythene pots.