Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) is one of the horticultural crops commonly grown in Zimbabwe but the productivity of the crop is hampered by poor erratic seed germination due to dormancy. A study was carried out at Bindura University of Science Education to determine the best method and treatment combination of breaking okra seed dormancy. Viability tests and germination tests were conducted first to ascertain that failure of germination was due to dormancy. The study consisted of 3 laboratory experiments arranged as factorial treatment structure laid in a completely randomised design with 3 replications. The 3 experiments consisted of 3 methods of breaking seed dormancy (water soaking, acid scarification and dry heating). Each of the different methods was employed at different exposure duration and at different temperature/concentration levels. Germination was measured for 14 days to determine the total final percentage seed germination. Acid scarified seeds for 3 min at 80% H2SO4 concentration level had the best germination percentage of 96.6% followed by dry heating for 5 minutes at 70°C and soaking for 12 h at 30°C which had 92.2 and 91.3% germination respectively. However, H2SO4 scarification for 5 min at 60% concentration gave the least germination of 44% followed by soaking for 48 h at 30°C and dry heating for 5 min at 80°C which all resulted in 50% germination. Based on the research findings, 80% H2SO4 for 3 min can be used by okra farmers to break dormancy while dry heating for 5 min at 70°C and soaking for 12 h at 30°C are equally good alternatives.
Key words: Dormancy, germination, okra, scarification.
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