Global Advanced Research Journal of Agricultural Science (GARJAS) ISSN: 2315-5094
August 2018 Vol. 7(8): pp. 239-244
Copyright © 2018 Global Advanced Research Journals


Full Length Research Paper

Comparative Study of Seedlings Growth Performance in the Nursery with and Without Hydrogels

Mugure Margaret Wanjiru* and Balozi K. Bekuta**1


*Kenya Forest Service

**University of Eldoret, P.O. Box 1125 - 30100, Eldoret, Kenya

*Corresponding Author's Email:

Accepted 24 April, 2018



Tree planting in many ASAL areas in Kenya is hampered by poor water supply. Many small scale tree nursery owners in these areas cannot afford the cost of providing adequate water for their seedlings. Given that 80% of Kenya is Arid or Semi-arid, there is great potential for afforestation if the water problem can be solved. In this paper we report the benefits of using hydrogels in nursery pots soil mixtures in comparison to watering directly into the pots. Hydro gels are super absorbent polymers, capable of absorbing large quantities of water into their structure and  then slowly dispensed the water to the seedling roots as needed by the plant, thereby reducing the frequency of watering, leaching of nutrients and wastage of water and significantly reducing nursery costs. A comparative study of seedling height and root collar diameter growth with and without hydrogels was used for 5 months. Two soil treatments were used; a) normal pot mix of the University of Eldoret tree nursery, and b) normal pot mix (as in (a) above) plus hydrogels. Two species were used in the study i.e. Cupressus lusitanica  and Eucalyptus grandis. Three watering sub-treatments were used; i) normal watering  twice daily as normally done by the nursery attendants; ii) watering directly into the potted seedlings with 10 ml of water  twice daily (early morning and late evening) ; and iii) watering twice in a week, every Monday and Thursday, early morning and late evening with 10 ml of water throughout the duration of experiment.  The results showed that seedlings in pots with hydrogels grew significantly better (α = 0.05) than those without. Mode of watering and watering-by-soil mix interaction had also a significant effect. This study showed that there is great potential to raise seedlings in water scarce areas using hydrogels.

Keywords: Nursery, Hydrogels, ASALs.







Bouranis J, Theodoropoulus AG, Drossopoulus JB (1995). Super Absorbent Poly-Acramides. Elsevier, 1995.

Jaenicke H (1999). Good Tree Nursery Practices, practical guidelines for research nurseries. International Centre for Research in Agro Forestry, 1999.

Kramer PJ (1983). Water Relations of Plants. Academic Press, New York, 1983 Pg 68.

Wenger (1984). Agricultural Handbook of Kenya.




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