Effect of Planting Density and Poultry Manure Rates on Leaf Area and Vine Length of Watermelon (cltrullus lanatus) in South Eastern Nigeria
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The effect of planting density and poultry manure rates on leaf area and vine length of watermelon in South Eastern Nigeria was evaluated. The experiment was conducted at Center for Agriculture Research Farm, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. The experiment was a 4 x 3 factorial laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. There were a total of twelve(12) treatment combinations consisting of three (3) manure rates of 0.0 (control),2.0 and 4.0 t/ha and four watermelon densities of 1.0 x 1.0m,2.0 x1.0m,2.0x2.0m and 3.0 x2.0m respectively. Data on the soil nutrient status before and after the experiment, the chemical composition of the poultry manure used for the experiment, leaf area at 6, Band 10 weeks after planting and vine length at 6, Band 10 weeks-after planting were collected and analyzed using "Genstat 2005" software while the means were separated for difference using Fisher's Least Significant Difference protocol. Results showed that increase in poultry manure rates significantly (p=0.05) increased leaf area and vine length while decrease in watermelon planting density significantly increased leaf area. Different planting densities of watermelon did not produce any significant effects on vine length. Therefore, planting density of 2.0 x 1.0 and 2.0 x 2.0 and manure rates of 4 /ha tones that are recommended for good ground vegetative cover which will enable watermelon to be used as a low input subsistence crop to cover the soil during late (dry) season farming in the south eastern Nigeria.