Peach seedling growth with mycorrhiza and vermicompost
Sterilization of nursery substrate materials decreases the beneficial microorganisms in the surrounding root media and may result in poor seedling growth; compost and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may improve the plantlet development. This experiment aimed to analyze the effect of both AMF inoculation and vermicompost for the initial peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] seedling growth in sterilized substrate. Peach seedlings germinated in sterilized perlite were distributed into four resulting treatments from the combination of two factors and two levels each: with/without vermicompost in the growing media and with/without AMF inoculation at the transplanting time. Seedlings were arranged completely randomized inside a glasshouse throughout the study. Utilization of vermicompost in the growing media and AMF inoculation, and their combination, resulted in less total chlorophyll (p < 0.05) measured at 108 days after planting (DAP). At the end of the experiment (180 DAP), AMF inoculation resulted in root colonization greater than 70% of the total root length; however, this effect was eclipsed by adding vermicompost to the substrate. Root and shoot dry weights and also stem diameter were superior (p < 0.01) by adding vermicompost to the growing substrate, but AMF inoculation had no effect on these variables. It is concluded that vermicompost addition to the substrate is preferable to AMF inoculation in order to stimulate peach seedling growth during the initial six months in sterilized substrates.
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