Application of Biochar and Organic Fertilizer on Acid Soil as Growing Medium for Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) Seedlings

Kurnia Dewi Sasmita, Iswandi Anas, Syaiful Anwar, Sudirman Yahya, Gunawan Djajakirana


The use of infertile acidic soil as a nursery growing medium has several limiting factors for plant growth. Application of ameliorant is an efforts to improve the quality of growing medium both the chemical, physical, and biological properties and increase seedling growth. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of biochar and organic fertilizer to the chemical properties of the growing medium and cacao seedling biomass. The study was a factorial treatment consisting three factors in a completely randomized design with three replications. The first factor was organic fertilizer treatment (without organic fertilizer and with 10% (w/w) organic fertilizer). The second factor was the types of biochar (rice husk biochar and white albizia wood biochar). The third factor was the rates of biochar application (0%, 1%, 2%, 4%, 6% w/w). The research was an incubation of growing medium for 15 days after treatments, then followed by cacao seedlings for 20 weeks.

The results showed that the increase of biochar rate and organic fertilizers application increased available P and exchangeable base cations (K, Ca, Na), whilst decreased exchangeable Al of the medium. The increase of biochar rate without organic fertilizer decreased the total dry weight of cacao seedling. However, the increase of biochar rate in combination with organic fertilizers increased linearly the dry weight of leaves and total dry weight of cacao seedlings. 


acid soil; biochar; cacao seedling; organic fertilizer.

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