Don Immanuel Edralin and Agustin Mercado Jr
Tree growing is recognized to provide economic and environmental benefits, and this has resulted in tree growing initiatives in Northern Mindanao. However, tree growing is faced with constraints including high field mortality and poor timber stands, with low merchantable height and diameter. This paper seeks to discern the quality differences of seedlings grown in three nursery types in Northern Mindanao, and to investigate the influence of nursery facilities and cultural management practices on seedling quality. Seedling quality was assessed through random sampling of planting materials. Information about nursery facilities and cultural management practices were obtained through interviews with nursery operators and through visual observations. It was found that private, communal and government nurseries have facilities designed for low-cost production of seedlings. The lack of hardening beds and raised benches used for seedling acclimatization explains the inability of seedlings to survive when outplanted. Seedlings were found to be of low quality in all nursery types, with weal stems, unbalanced root-shoot ratio and with J-root formation. It was also found that most nurseries did not apply soil treatment which is one of the basics for growing seedlings. There is an urgent need to improve nursery management practices by employing best management practices including proper hardening techniques using effective but non-expensive hardening beds and soil sterilization to improve seedling quality.
Keywords: Snowball sampling, nursery facilities, sturdiness quotient, root-shoot ration, hardening beds