ASSESSMENT OF PERIODS OF SAND PRIMING AND HYDRO-PRIMING ON THE GERMINATION OF AFRICAN EBONY (Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst)
Diospyros mespiliformis (Hochst) is a multipurpose, agro-forestry tree species with diverse environmental and ecological significances. However, low percentage germination associated with its seeds has limited its domestication. To overcome this challenge, there is need to adopt cheap, fast, safe, natural and adoptable physiological techniques such as sand priming and hydro-priming. There is paucity of quantified information on natural and safe methods of relieving dormancy as sand priming and hydro-priming. Most of methods of breaking dormancy as use of acid are not simple, safe and adoptable by farmers who practices agro-forestry. In the light of this, these experiments were conducted to assess the periods of sand priming (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks) and hydro-priming (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks) on the germination of D. mespiliformis. Both experiments were laid down in completely randomized design with four replicates. Mean germination times were calculated, and result revealed that a significant increase in percentage germination was recorded with increasing periods of exposing seeds to sand priming up to four weeks. The percentage germination ranged between 28%-93.25% for control (0) and four weeks sand priming respectively. Least value of 8.92 day was recorded for mean germination time of control (0 sand priming). A significant increase in percentage germination was recorded with increasing hours of hydro-priming up to 24 hours. The percentage germination was ranged between 25% - 100% for control (0) hour to 24 hours. Highest germination percentages were recorded in seeds subjected to sand priming for 4weeks (93.25%) and those hydro-primed for 24hours (100%). These results are recommended for mass production of D. mespiliformis in agro-forestry nurseries.