OJF  Vol.4 No.1 , January 2014
Effects of Hydrogels on Soil Moisture and Growth of Cajanus cajan in Semi Arid Zone of Kongelai, West Pokot County
Abstract: Studies on the effects of hydrogels on soil amendments, moisture conservation and growth of Cajanus cajan in arid and semi-arid lands were carried out. Seedlings of C. cajan were established both in the nursery and in the field with and without hydrogels. In the field, three replications were used with three levels of hydrogels concentration (7 g, 11 g, and 15 g). Control seedlings were established in soils without hydrogels. In the nursery, root collar diameters and heights were measured every two weeks up to eight weeks. Seedlings established without hydrogels in the nursery were transplanted into field soils with none, 7 g, 11 g and 15 g of hydrogels. Root collar diameters and heights were again measured every month for three months. In addition, soil was collected randomly once every month from the base of each seedling and analyzed for soil moisture using standard laboratory procedures. All data were subjected to analysis of variance. The results show that growth in both the height and root collar diameter of the species was significantly different at the three levels of hydrogels. This suggests that use of hydrogels retards plant growth in nursery soils but improves growth in the field. Hydrogels increased soil moisture volume from 8.3% to 10% in H15g level of hydrogels under C. cajan after transplanting. It was concluded that hydrogels do not contribute to growth of seedlings in the nursery but they do so after transplanting. Hydrogels increase soil moisture in the soil, so they are recommended for use in semi-arid lands to boost the survival and growth of seedlings.
Cite this paper: Gilbert, C. , Peter, S. , Wilson, N. , Edward, M. , Francis, M. , Sylvester, K. & Erick, B. (2014). Effects of Hydrogels on Soil Moisture and Growth of Cajanus cajan in Semi Arid Zone of Kongelai, West Pokot County. Open Journal of Forestry, 4, 34-37. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2014.41006.

[1]   Abedi-Koupai, J., Sohrab, F., & Swarbrick, G. (2008). Evaluation of hydrogels application on soil water retention characteristics. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 31, 317-331.

[2]   Chen, M. S., Huang, Y., Zou, J, W., Shen, Q, R., Hua, Z. H., Qin, Y, M., Chen, H, S., & Pan, G. X. (2010). Modeling inter-annual variability of global soil respiration from climate and soil properties. Nanjing: College of Environmental Science and Engineering.

[3]   Chirino, E., Vilagrosa, A., Cortina, J., Valdecantos, A., Fuentes, D., Trubat, R., Luis, V. C., Puértolas, J., Bautista, S., Baeza, J., Penuelas, J. L., & Vallejo, V. R. (2008). Ecological restoration in degraded drylands: the need to improve the seedling quality and site conditions in the field. In S. P. Grossberg (Ed.), Forest management (pp. 85-158). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

[4]   Del Campo, A. D., Hermoso, J., Flors, J., Lidon, A., & Navarro-Cerrillo, R. M. (2011). Nursery location and potassium enrichment in Aleppo pine stock 2. Performance under real and hydrogels-mediated drought conditions. Forestry, 84, 235-245.

[5]   GoK (2010). National climate change response strategy. Nairobi: Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Government of Kenya.

[6]   IPCC, (2008). Climate Change and Water, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Report IV. June 2008.

[7]   Korsaeth, A. (2012). N, P, and K budgets and changes in selected topsoil nutrients over 10 years in a long-term experiment with conventional and organic crop rotations. Kapp: Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research.

[8]   Landis, T. C., & Haase, D. L. (2012). Applications of hydrogels in the nursery and during out planting. In: D. L. Haase, J. R. Pinto, L. E. Riley, & Technical Coordinators (Eds.), National Proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations 2011 (pp. 53-58). Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

[9]   Luo, Z. K., Wang, E. L., Sun, O. J., Smith, C. J., & Probert, M. E. (2011). Modeling long-term soil carbon dynamics and sequestration potential in semi-arid agro-ecosystems. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 151, 1529-1544.

[10]   Muchiri, K., Ochieng, B., Tuwei, P., & Wanjiku (2009). Kenya Forestry Research Institute Proceedings of the 4th KEFRI Scientific Conference. Recent advances in forestry research for environmental conservation, improved livelihood and economic development. Muguga: KEFRI.

[11]   Okorie, F. C. (2003). Studies on drought in the Sub-Saharan Region of Nigeria using satellite remote sensing and precipitation data. Lagos: University of Lagos.