Performance of Jatropha curcas L. in Semi-arid Zone: Seed Germination, Seedling Growth and Early Field Growth
There is a lack of information on basic agronomic properties of Jatropha curcas L. (jatropha) cultivation on the marginal lands in the semi-arids. Evaluation of agronomic performance of identified elite strains of J. curcas in marginal lands would be of paramount importance for addressing gap areas in their agronomic properties and subsequently for harnessing their optimum economic potentials. The present study undertook the task of analysing the growth performance of a high oil bearing elite strain of J. curcas–DARL-2 in degraded land in semi-arid zone of Deccan Plateau, India. While undertaking the assessment of growth performance of elite strain DARL-2, two other native (wild) strains (namely AHN-1 and AHN-2) of J. curcas were also considered so that a comparative evaluation could be carried out. The role of gypsum was also investigated on J. curcas in the nursery stage as well its carry over effects on growth performance of transplanted trees in the field. Two types of substrates, gypsum-treated soil (GS) and untreated soil (SL) were used for growing seedlings of all the three jatropha strains. Seedlings (120-days-old) of DARL-2 exhibited greater plant height, collar diameter and number of branches but root length was greater in the local strains. In the second year of field transplantation, DARL-2 strain exhibited significantly (p<0.05) greater plant height and number of branches/plant. No carry over effects of gypsum treatment were observed in field transplanted plants as none of the growth parameters significantly varied among the substrate types.
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