CROP PRODUCTION III ( NURSERY PRACTICES)

Introduction

  • Planting materials are either planted directly in a seedbed or indirectly through a nursery bed.
  • A seedbed is a piece of land which could be small or large and prepared to receive planting materials.
  • A nursery bed on the other hand is a small plot of land specially prepared for raising seedlings or planting materials before transplanting.
  • It is usually 1m wide and any convenient length depending on the quantity of seedlings to be raised.
  • A seedling bed is a special type of nursery bed used for raising seedlings pricked out from the nursery bed due to overcrowding before they are ready for transplanting.
  • Pricking out refers to the removal of seedlings from a nursery bed to a seedling bed.
  • Nursery practices refer to all the activities carried out throughout a nursery life to raise seedlings. .

Importance of Nursery Bed in Crop Production

  • To facilitate the production of many seedlings in a small area.
  • It is easy to carry out management practices in a nursery than in the seedbed.
  • It facilitates the planting of small seeds which develop into strong seedlings that are easily transplanted.
  • It ensures transplanting of only healthy and vigorous growing seedlings.
  • It reduces the period taken by the crop in the field.
  • Excess seedlings from the nursery may be sold to earn income. 

Selection of a Nursery Site

Factors to consider;

  • Nearness to the water source.
  • Type of soil.-should be well drained, deep and fertile, preferably loam soil.
  • Topography.-it should be situated on a gentle slope to prevent flooding and erosion through surface run-off.
  • Previous cropping.-to avoid build up of pests and diseases associated with particular plant families, consider the preceding crops.
  • Security.-select a site that is protected from theft and destruction by animals.
  • Protection against strong winds and heat of the sun.-select a sheltered place. i.e. to avoid excessive evapotranspiration and uprooting seedlings. 

Types of Nurseries

Categories of nurseries:

Vegetable Nursery:

  • They are used for raising the seedlings of vegetable crops.

Tomatoes, cabbages, kale, onions, brinjals and peppers.

Vegetable Propagation Nurseries:

  • They are used for inducing root production in cuttings before they are transplanted,
  • The cuttings can be planted directly in the soil and hence called bare root nurseries.
  • Or planted into containers such as pots, polythene bags and others, hence called containerized nurseries.

Tree Nurseries:

  • These are used for raising tree seedlings.
  • The seedlings can be raised in bare root nurseries or in containerized nurseries.

Nursery Management Practices:

  • These are the practices carried out in the nursery while the planting materials are growing.

They include:

  • Mulching. –light mulch should be applied on thenursery bed.It be  should be removed on the 4th day
  • Weed control.
  • Shading.
  • Pricking out.
  • Pests and disease control.
  • Hardening off
  • Watering. 

Preparation of vegetative materials for planting:

  • Cuttings -These are plant parts such as stems, leaves and roots induced to produce roots and used as planting materials.
  • Grafting
  • It is the practice of uniting two separate woody stems.
  • The part bearing the roots is referred to as root stock while the part which is grafted onto the rootstock is known as
  • The scion has buds which develop into the future plant.
  • The ability of the rootstock and the scion to form a successful union is termed as

Methods of Grafting

Whip or tongue grafting:

  • In this case the diameter of the rootstock and the scion are the same.
  • It is carried out when the diameter of the scion and the rootstock is ‘pencil’ thick.

Side grafting: In this case the diameter of the rootstock is bigger than that of  the scion.

Other types of grafting include ;

  • Approach grafting,
  • Notch grafting
  • Bark grafting.

Budding:

  • It is the practice of uniting a vegetative bud to a seedling of another plant.
  • The scion has only one bud and some bark with or without wood.
  • The bud is inserted in a slit made on the bark of the stock.
  • It is held tightly on the stock by tying with a budding tape until it produces a shoot.

Methods of Budding:

  • T-budding
  • Top budding
  • Patch budding.

Importance of Budding and Grafting:

  • Plants with desirable root characteristics but with undesirable products may be used to produce desirable products for example lemon­-orange graft.
  • They facilitate the changing of the top of the tree from being undesirable to desirable
  • They make it possible to grow more than one type of fruit or flower on the same plant.
  • They help to propagate clones that cannot be propagated in any other way.
  • They help to shorten the maturity period.

Layering

  • It is the process by which a part of a plant is induced to produce roots while still attached to the mother plant.
  • Once the roots have been produced, the stem is then cut off and planted.

Types of layering;

  • Marcotting or aerial layering.
  • Tip layering.
  • Trench layering.
  • Compound or serpentine.

Tissue Culture for Crop Propagation

  • Tissue culture is a biotechnology used in cloning vegetatively propagated plants.
  • It is based on the ability of plant tissue (or cells) to regenerate other parts of the plant.
  • The tissues are derived from shoot tips where cells are undergoing rapid cell division and are not differentiated.
  • The cells are then provided with the right conditions which enable them to multiply and develop roots. 

    The Right Conditions  for tissue culture:

  • Culture medium.
  • Correct temperature.
  • Correct light intensity and
  • Correct relative humidity.

Importance of Tissue Culture in Crop Propagation

  • It is used to recover and establish pathogen-free plants especially in the control of viral diseases.
  • It is used in mass production of plantlets or propagules.
  • It is fast and requires less space than the cultural methods of using cutting which requires a bigger space.

Transplanting Seedlings

  • Transplanting of vegetable and tree seedlings are generally the same.
  • Generally, vegetable seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are one month old or have 4 -6 leaves or are about 10-15cm in height.
  • Before transplanting, the nursery bed is adequately watered 3 – 4 hours before lifting the seedlings.
  • This ensures the seedlings are lifted easily with a ball of earth around the roots to minimize root damage.
  • Tree seedlings take a little longer to reach transplanting age compared to vegetable crop seedlings.
  • The roots are trimmed before lifting the seedlings.
  • Transplanting should be done at the onset of the long rains to give the young trees a good start.
  • After transplanting the young trees should be protected from damage by animals for a period of about one year.
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