Improving germination and early seedling growth of marula (Sclerocarya birrea) through hydro-priming

Published: 26 May 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/966ngpzf4z.1
Stanlake Mangezi


A pot and field experiments were carried out to investigate the effects of hydro-priming duration on the germination and early seedling growth of marula. Marula seeds were soaked in water for different durations: no soaking, soaking for 24 hours, soaking for 48 hours and soaking for 60 hours. The treatments in both experiments were arranged in Completely Randomized Design (CRD) replicated four times. The effects of hydro-priming duration on germination percentage were highly significant (p<0.001) in both the pot and field experiments. Marula seeds soaked for 48 hours had the highest germination percentage (45%), in the pot experiment. In the field experiment, a germination percentage of 77.5% was achieved in seeds soaked for 60 hours before planting. The effects of hydro-priming duration were also significant (p<0.05) on germination index in pot and field experiments. Root lengths observed 90 days after planting were significantly (p<0.05) affected by soaking duration in both experiments. Seedlings produced from seeds soaked for 60 hours produced the longest roots in the pot (9.46 cm) and field (16 cm) experiments. From the results of this experiment, it can be concluded that hydro-priming seeds before planting enhances the germination and initial growth of seedlings in marula.


Steps to reproduce

Marula seeds were collected from Chivi district in Zimbabwe and stored for a period of two months at room temperature. After the period of storage, the seeds were then subjected to different hydro-priming durations (T1-0 Hours, T2-24 Hours, T3-48 Hours, T4-60 Hours). the seeds were then planted in a medium of forest top soil in 7 litre bucket pots. Watering was done every other day. The pots were exposed to sunlight for 10 hours every day and stored in the lab overnight to avoid the effects of night frost. Data was collected on a daily basis until no further germination was observed for a period of 21 days. After 90 days data was collected on below and above ground growth parameters like root length, number of secondary roots, plant height. In the field experiment, the trial was perfomed in an open field in the summer month of September. Seeds had been stored for 18 months. Data was collected on a weekly basis on germination parameters and after 90 days on growth parameters.


Midlands State University Faculty of Natural Resources Management and Agriculture