African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6843

Article in Press

Evaluation of micro-irrigation and mulch systems on nectarine fruit production

Nyagura Sinikiwe and Wonder Ngezimana

  •  Received: 27 September 2021
  •  Accepted: 09 December 2022
The study was conducted during 2018/2019 early summer season at Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology orchard which is located in region 11B. A factorial experiment to evaluate water use productivity, growth and development of nectarines tree under drip irrigation and different mulching treatments was done. A 2x4 factorial treatment of irrigation and mulching (no mulch, black plastic, grass and maize cob mulch) was laid down in a controlled randomized block design and replicated three times. The control treatments had no supplementary irrigation and mulch. The results indicated a highest plant height on black plastic mulch with irrigation, maize cob mulch with irrigation and grass mulch with irrigation with mean values of 237 cm. The lowest plant height was reported on the control and maize cob mulch treatments without irrigation with values of 172.67 cm and166.67 cm respectively. The experiment also demonstrated that leaf temperature decreases and stomata conductance increases when the temperature drops in December and January across all treatments. These are the months that received significant amount of rainfall. The highest stomata conductance was recorded on day 98 in black polythene plastic mulch with irrigation with a value of 625.06 mmols m-2s-1 and lowest stomata conductance was recorded in the control experiment with a value of 403.56 mmols m-2 s-1. Highest branching was observed in irrigated grass mulched treatments (52 branches). Lowest number was obtained in the control experiment with 19 branches on day 98. Highest girth was obtained in maize cob mulch with irrigation, grass mulch with irrigation with values of 103.98 mm and 103.40 mm respectively and the lowest value of 61.49 mm was obtained on control treatment. No weeds were recorded on black plastic mulched experiments while high weed density was reported on the maize cob mulch, control and the no mulch with water experiments. Results of this work showed high water productivity in plant height, plant girth, branching and stomata conductance across all irrigated experiments