Hybrid Cashew Seedlings
There are three main varieties which are Brazilian cashew, Chinese cashew, and Indian cashew. Brazilian cashew is mostly grown in Nigeria.
- Cashew is highly cross-pollinated and vegetative propagation is mainly recommended on a commercial scale to produce true to type planting materials.
- The nuts can be sowed 3 – 4 per hole or raised in the nursery and transplanted in the field.
- After the establishment, the plants are thinned to one healthy and vigorous plant per stand.
- Cashew can be propagated by seedlings, air layers, and softwood grafts.
PROPAGATION BY SEEDLINGS
Selection of mother trees
Selected mother trees should be of good health, vigorous growth, and intensive branching habit with panicles having a high percentage of hermaphrodite flowers. The trees should bear nuts of medium size and weight (5-8 g/nut) with an average yield of 15 kg nuts per annum and 7-8 nuts per panicle.
Raise seedlings in polythene bags during May. Soak seed nuts in water for 18 to 24 hours to hasten germination. Sow the pre-soaked seed nuts in polythene bags filled with garden soil at a depth of 2-3 cm with the stalk end up. Seeds germinate in seven to ten days.
Selection of seed nuts
Fresh seed nuts should be collected during the peak period of harvest in February-March and sun-dried for 2-3 days.
- Medium-sized nuts of 7-9 g should be selected in order to get uniform and vigorously growing seedlings.
- The sun-dried, graded seeds should be treated with carbaryl (5g/Kg of seeds) before storing them in gunny bags or polythene bags.
Preparation of the potting mixture
Prepare the potting mixture in the proportion of one part red soil, one part sand and one part compost in heavy rainfall areas and one part red soil, one part compost in low rainfall areas and mixed with a little quantity of rock phosphate (10g/2Kg of the potting mixture).
Sowing of seeds
The seed nuts should be soaked in water for 12-24 hours before sowing in order to get good germination. At the time of sowing the soil should be moist and loosened in the polythene bag. Sow the seeds at a depth of not more than 2.5 cm and cover them with little soil.
- The seed nuts usually germinate within 15-20 days after sowing. Seedbed may be mulched with paddy straw till germination takes place and partial shade may be provided during summer months.
- A fertilizer dose of 750 g N, 325 g P2O5, and 750 g K2O per plant is recommended for cashew. Apply 1/5th dose after the completion of the first year, 2/5th dose during the second year.
- Pineapple is the most profitable inter-crop in cashew plantation in the early stages of growth.
- A spacing of 7.5 m x 7.5 m has been recommended for poor soils, and for rich, deep, and coastal sandy soils a wider spacing of 10 m x 10 m is prescribed.
- The fruits will be ready for harvest in about two months after the fertilization of the flowers.