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Effect of growing medium on early growth and survival of Uaparka kirkiana Môell Arg. seedlings in Malawi

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The use of appropriate growing medium has been an important factor influencing growth and survival of seedlings in the nursery. Raising Uapaca kirkiana rootstocks from seeds has been a challenge as pencil-size stem thickness is required before grafting can be done. An experiment was carried out with the objective of determining an effective growing medium that ensures survival and rapid growth of U. kirkiana seedlings. Ten different combinations of sand forest soil and sawdust amended with four different levels of nitrogen phosphorus and potash fertilizer were evaluated. The result showed that the growing medium comprising 75% forest soil and 25% sawdust produced the tallest seedlings with larger root collar diameter and higher survival at ten months after planting. Amending the same growing medium with fertilizer improved the root collar diameter of the seedlings. It is concluded that a growing medium comprising 75% forest soil and 25% sawdust and amended with NPK fertilizer was superior in improving U. kirkiana seedling growth to attain a suitable diameter for grafting within ten months.

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