EFFECT OF SIX WEED MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES ON WEED CONTROL AND GROWTH AND YIELD OF PLANTAIN (Musa spp AAB cv AGBAGBA)
The effects of five weed management techniques and a weed free control on weed infestation and on the growth and yield of a plantain landrace (Musa spp. AAB Agbagba) were evaluated during the two cropping seasons of 2005 and 2006 at Nsukka, Nigeria. The experiment was laid out in randomised complete block design (RCBD) with six treatments and replicated four times. The treatments comprised six weed management techniques, which consisted of slashing at 8-weekly intervals, mulching with sawdust alone, use of glyphosate + intermittent slashing, use of sawdust mulching + glyphosate, use of glyphosate alone and a weed-free (by hoeing) control. Results of the study showed that there was a significant (P<0.05) difference in the effectiveness of the various weed management techniques on weed control. Mulching + glyphosate treatment was the most effective weed control technique compared to other treatments. The result also showed a significant (P<0.05) difference in the suckering ability as a result of the mulching effect. This was such that mulched plots produced the highest number of suckers with a mean value of 4.2 and glyphosate alone treated plots produced the least number of suckers with a mean value of 17 at 36 WAT. Plant heights, number of leaves, leaf area and fruit yield were also significantly (P <0.05) affected by the treatments. The result showed that mulching + glyphosate weed management strategy supported the best plant growth with mean values of 139.7 cm, 4.3 and 12348.8 cm2 for plant height, number of leaves and leaf area respectively without any lodging. The treatment also supported the best fruit yield of 12.1t/ha with the highest benefit/cost ratio of 3.87 and gross margin of 74.2 as compared to the rest of the other treatments.