Wood charcoals were mainly used for smoking of fish, meat and frying of corns and many times dump off as wastes in southeast, Nigeria. Their nutrient recycles and release when used as soil amendment has not been considered and evaluated by farmers in the southeast, Nigeria. This study was therefore carried out to assess the efficiency of wood charcoal technology in improving soil productivity. Influence of wood charcoal from Chlorophera excelsa on soil properties and yield components of maize were evaluated. Four different rates of wood charcoal (6, 4, 2 and 0 tha-1 that received no treatment application) were used. The treatments were laid out in randomised complete block design (RCBD) and treatment means were compared using least significant difference (LSD). The findings from the study showed non-significant (P<0.05) differences in most of the growth and yield components of maize tested. Significant differences were recorded in all the soil properties assessed except for percentage nitrogen (N). Higher values were observed in 4 tha-1 rates except for the values of pH, available phosphorus and percentage base saturation, where higher values were observed in 6 tha-1 rates of wood charcoal than the other rates of wood charcoal. The percentage increase in calcium content of the soil relative to the values obtained in 0 tha-1 rate was 13.04% (2 tha-1), 11.76% (4 tha-1) and 7.69% (6 tha-1). While the percentage increase in the value of Mg2+ obtained in 4 tha-1 plots relative to control (0 tha-1) plots was 28.5%. The data generated from both growth and yield component and soil properties showed that the values of parameters tested increased as the rate of wood charcoal applied increased, though this was not consistent in the growth and yield parameters and few cases in soil parameters. In comparison of the four different rates of the wood charcoal applied, 4 tha-1 rate seems to be an ideal than the other rates as it performed competitively better and were able to liberate plant nutrients more than the other rates of wood charcoal though these liberated nutrients were not reflected in most of the growth parameters assessed.
Key words: Chlorophera excelsa , crop growth, soil properties, wood charcoal.
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