In spite of the economic potential of the sheanut tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), its domestication still has not been achieved due to the long juvenile period of seed propagated plants and the absence of a reliable vegetative propagation method. Three experiments were conducted by using a modified container layering technique to investigate the effects of season (rainy and dry season), light treatments (etiolation and natural light) and indole 3-butyric acid (IBA) on root formation in juvenile and mature sheanut trees. The effect of light treatments on the internal conditions such as level of sugars (soluble, insoluble and total sugars) and total free phenols in layered sheanut shoots was also considered. Rooting was generally lower in the mature trees (27.9%) compared to that in juvenile 4 year-old plants (40.9%). Etiolation increased the levels of total sugars and phenols in shoots of 4-year-old plants and mature fruit bearing trees, but this increase did not significantly enhance rooting in both the juvenile and mature sheanut trees. The container layering technique holds promise as a method for the asexual propagation of sheanut planting material. Roots formed using this method looked healthy and were vertically orientated giving layered shoots a better chance at survival.
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