Effect of Substrate and Application of Fertilizers and Inoculants on the Initial Development of Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia Andr.) in Colombia
M. Claudia Díez G., Walter Osorio V. and Flavio Moreno H.
Department of Forest Science, Unversidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín
Cultivating vanilla in agroforestry systems can be a profitable alternative for small farmers in the tropics, where nutrient-poor soils are common. We evaluated the response of vanilla plants cultivated in an agroforestry system in Colombia to combined treatments of types of substrates, chemical fertilization and application of inoculants. We used two substrates (spent mushroom compost vs. leaf litter + wood chips) and four types of fertilization and inoculation treatments: chemical fertilization to the substrate (CH) (fertilizer grade 27-17-17), inoculation with rizospheric microorganisms (I) (Pseudomonas fluorescens, Trichoderma sp., Bacillus sp, Penicillium sp.), and the combination CH+I. A control (C) (no fertilized, no inoculated) was included. The plants exhibited significantly greater growth (length and biomass) in the substrate composed by leaf litter + wood chips than in the spent mushroom compost. The greatest aerial biomass, total biomass, and vine length 480 days after planting occurred in the CH + I treatment. There was an apparent synergistic effect between these two treatments; a significant increase in the proportion of terrestrial roots and plant survival occurred in I and CH + I treatments; vine length 180 days after planting was greater in the CH treatment. Foliar concentration of N was significantly greater in plants with the leaf litter + wood chip substrate, while the type of fertilization treatment had no significant effect. The greatest foliar concentration of P and K occurred in the CH and CH + I fertilization treatments, while the type of substrate had no significant effect. These results show the positive effect of utilizing microorganisms in vanilla crops and their potential for improving plant health and productivity.
Keywords: bio-fertilization; plant nutrition; chemical fertilization; Pseudomonas fluorescens, Trichoderma sp., Bacillus sp, Penicillium sp.