keywords: Mansonia altissima, seedlings, biochar, plant residues
Biochar is a fine- grained charcoal high in organic carbon and largely resistant to decomposition, it is produced from pyrolysis of plant and waste feedstock. Very little scientific research has been concluded in the area of using different plant residues on the production of biochar in Nigeria. The study was conducted to produce biochar from selected plant residues and assess the effects of its application on the growth of Mansonia altissima seedlings. Three plant residues were used to make the biochar, weed, bamboo and cassava peel. They were grinded into powdery form, mixed with topsoil and degraded soil. The experiment was made up of four treatments, (T0) 2 kg of topsoil (control), (T1) 50 kg of biochar made from weeds + 2 kg of degraded soil, (T2) 50 g of biochar from cassava peel + 2 kg of degraded soil, (T3) 50 g of biochar made from bamboo + 2 kg of degraded soil. The experiment was laid out in a Complete Randomized Design (CRD). The growth parameters assessed included: plant height, stem diameter and leaf production. The data collected were subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The result obtained showed that biochar T2 performed best in height with the values of 23.4 cm, while T0 had the least performance in height with the value of 13.88 cm. For stem diameter, T2 performed best (6.8 mm), while T0 had the least performance (4.8 mm).In terms of leaf production, T2 performed best (10.2). While T1 had the least performance of 8.8. The ANOVA result showed that there were no significant difference among the treatments at 5% level of probability in terms of plant height, stem diameter and leaf production. Addition of biochar made from cassava peel as soil amendment to Mansonia altissima seedlings at nursery stage, produced healthy and vigorous seedlings in a short period of time, even better than biochar made from weeds and bamboo. Therefore it was recommended that biochar application be adopted for raising seedlings of Mansonia altissima.