- by Manuel C. Palada, Hope G. Patricio and Diaden E. Garcia (completed June 2015)
This study was conducted to determine the of biomass yield of Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) as influenced by plant spacing and frequency of harvesting. Moringa plants were grown at four plant spacing and densities: a) 1m x 1m (10,000 plants per hectare-pph); b) 1 m x 0.5 m (20,000 pph); c) 0.9 m x 0.37 m (30,000 pph) and d) 0.5 m x 0.5 m (40,000 pph), and harvested at three frequencies: 4, 6, and 8 weeks. The field trial was established in a factorial randomized block design with three replications. Moringa seeds cultivar PKM-1 were directly sown in various plots on December 12, 2013. Optimum soil moisture for germination and seedling growth was maintained and complete fertilizer was applied at one tablespoon per plant three weeks after emergence. Seed germination and plant height were recorded on periodic basis. Initial harvest for all treatments was perform 116 days after sowing. Thereafter, harvesting frequencies were followed according to treatments. Results showed that the effect of plant density, harvest frequency, and interaction between plant density and harvest frequency were significant. Overall, fresh leaf biomass increased as plant population increased from 10,000 to 40,000 pph. There was a positive correlation between plant density and biomass yield. Similarly, the longer the harvest frequency the higher was leaf biomass. Based on this study and growing conditions, the optimum plant density for fresh leaf production can be from 20,000 to 30,000 pph. Although leaf production was low at 4-week harvest interval, this frequency may be desirable when there is a need for monthly supply of Moringa raw material for processing into leaf powder and other by-products.