keywords: Balanites aegyptiaca seedlings, soils, heterogeneous environment, farmland, forest soil, ironstone and mineral elementsIntroduction
Preliminary study was carried out to evaluate growth performance of Balanites aegyptiaca seedlings on different soils at the nursery of Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka, Kaduna. Farm land soil, forest soil and granulated iron stone soil were sourced within the college premises and FRIN/JICA plantation and used for the experiment. Balanites aegyptiaca seedlings were sown on the different soils and each was replicated eight (8) times. The experiment was laid out in Complete Randomized Design (CRD). Growth parameters were collected forth-nightly and was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Duncan multiple range test (DMRT). Results revealed there are significant (P<0.05) differences in the plant height, stem diameter and number of leaf among the three different soils for the growth assessment. The growth rate recorded from the farm land soil are statistical higher (P<0.05) in leaf width, plant height and stem diameter compared with forest and granulated iron stone soils. Mean seedlings biomass production is significantly higher (P<0.05) in farmland soil in leave dry weight (LDW), stem dry weight (SDW), root dry weight (RDW), and total dry weight (TDW) compared with forest soil and granulated iron stone soil. Leaf area (LA) of seedlings were showing similarities under different soil types. Soil from farmland gives the best result, therefore it is recommended for raising and nurturing of Balanites aegyptiaca seedlings in the nursery for multiple plantation establishment without addition of any plant nutrient media.