Introduction to Cashew seed germination process
Cashew nut growing is easy, but it requires a more specific environment and growing conditions. If you can provide the environment, then you can plant a Cashew tree and enjoy the nuts and fresh fruits that are known as Cashew apple. It is also called a Cashew apple tree; it is part of the Anacardiaceae family. Cashew trees can grow up to 6 to 12 meters high. Its leaves are oval, leathery and dark green. The plant flowers, white and pink are gathered in inflorescence at the tips of young shoots and they are smaller in size but very fragrant. Trees grown from seed will take up to 3 years to bear fruit. A quicker method is to purchase a grafted Cashew tree that tends to bear fruit within 18 months. It’ll take up to 7 years before your trees can produce their optimum yield. Cultivation of Cashew is taken up in small and marginal holdings and as more than 70% of the Cashew area is under this category, Cashew plays an important role in the development of small and marginal farmers.
In this article we also discussed below topics;
- Process of growing Cashew from seed
- Time to take Cashew seeds take to germinate
- How do you germinate Cashew seeds
- Cashew seed germination temperature
- Process for germinating Cashew seeds
- Cashew seeds germination period
A step by step guide to Cashew seed germination
Soil requirement for Cashew cultivation
Cashew prefers poor sandy and laterite soil with a pH level of around 5 to 6.5. Never grow Cashew tree in a clay-rich soil. It is heavy and encourages waterlogging, and in the case of a growing Cashew tree, the soil you use must be well-drained in a way that water will flow smoothly.
Cashew seed nuts selection
Farmers have two options to obtain plant material for the new Cashew farm. That is sowing with Cashew seed nuts or using grafted plants. If the seed nuts option was chosen, they will obtain the Cashew seeds from the elite mother trees of mature farms. These trees are characterized by high yield; large nuts, and consistency in fruiting.
The observation for a mother tress starts during the fruiting period over 2 to 3 years. Farmers must mark the identified trees, record the yield, nuts count about 100 to 170 per kg, tree age, and farm sanitation. The Cashew seed nuts harvested by picking the nuts under the mother trees by detaching the nut properly from the apple, sundry, and sort (discarding small, shriveled, disease, or damaged). Cashew seed collection can be harvested during the harvest period (January to March) after choosing the mother trees in the past seasons. To know whether the seed nuts are good quality for sowing, Farmers conduct a water test to establish the seed nuts density before sowing, by following the below steps;
- Preparing a salt solution by dissolving one tablespoon of salt (10 g) in 6 and a half bottles of the big mineral water about 10 liters in a bucket;
- Soaking the seed-nuts in the salt solution for 5 minutes;
- Selecting seed-nuts which sunk;
- The selected seed-nuts are then soaked in clean-salt water for 8 hours to get good germination; and, finally;
- The seed nuts will be air-dried before the next rainy day for seed sowing.
Sowing of Cashew seed nuts
Farmers sowing two Cashew seed nuts in the planting hole (mole-shaped) at 3 cm to 5 cm depth and 15 cm apart. The stalk end of the Cashew seed nut is positioned pointing upwards and slightly inclined. Sow the Cashew seed nuts are done after a rainfall (at the beginning of June till mid-July).
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Healthy and fully matured uniform-sized seeds must be collected from the peak time in the season, preferably from a single variety and sun-dried for 2 to 3 days. Such selected seeds can be stored for about 6 to 8 months in gunny bags or plastic bags which can be further used for raising the rootstocks. Such bags must be store in a dry and cool place free from rodents.
Heavy seeds screened by removing the seeds floating in water must be used for sowing. Such seeds, pre-soaked overnight have to dibble with stalk-end upwards, 3 to 4 cm deep in the center of the polythene bags filled with potting mix and watered immediately. Cashew seeds can be sown in fortnightly batches to ensure the availability of rootstock seedlings continuously for grafting. Seeds, pregerminated in the moist sand bed, can be used for sowing to ensure the seedling in each polythene bag filled with growth medium.
Cashew plant pollination
Cashew plant is a self- pollinated plant. They attract honey bees and insects for pollination purpose and the pollens are transferred from stigma to stem. Wind plays a major role in transferring pollens which results in developing fruit.
Conditions for growing Cashew tree from seeds
Cashew trees can be mainly grown from seeds, air layering, and grafting. To propagate it from seeds, you will need a matured unshelled nut or seed. These seeds are viable for up to 4 months.
If you have collected the fresh seed from the Cashew tree, dry it in the sun for 3 days and soak in water overnight before sowing.
Sow the Cashew seeds in good quality seed starting mix; the seeds will germinate anywhere from 4 days to 3 weeks.
The spacing of the Cashew tree and planting systems
A spacing of 7.5m x 7.5m or 8m x 8m is recommended for Cashew which gives a tree density of 175 and 156 trees per hectare, respectively. High-density planting of 4m x 4m giving a tree density of 625 trees per ha in the initial years and subsequently thinning in stages to reach a final spacing of 8m x 8m is practiced in some areas. This enables higher returns during the initial years and as the canopies grow in volume, alternate Cashew trees are removed to achieve the desired final spacing. In level sites, however, it would be advantageous to plant Cashew at a spacing of about 10m x 5m which will give a tree density of 200 trees per hectare and at the same time providing enough space for growers to plant inter-crops during the initial years of establishment. Cashew trees are planted with a spacing of 7 to 9 meters adopting the square system.
The process of Cashew seed germination
Seed germination is a process that begins with the absorption of water by the seed and initiates a series of events, for example; the hydration of proteins, respiration, synthesis of macromolecules and cellular elongation, leading to radical emersion and seedling establishment. In the dwarf Cashew tree, the seed germination ends when the seeds reach a moisture level of about 50% and radical emergence occurs. Though the proportion and quantity of water absorbed can be influenced by intrinsic factors, such as seed (nut) vigor and resistance of the seed (nut) coat, and by environmental factors, for example, soil texture, temperature, and osmotic stress. The optimal temperature for Cashew seed germination is high, about 35°C, as might be expected for a plant adapted to tropical climates. Although the process of Cashew seed germination is highly dependent on water absorption, the literature is devoid of relevant studies concerning the effects of water stress on Cashew seed germination.
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Germination retardation appears to be the result of a reduction in the water potential of the soil solution, caused by an increase in insoluble salts concentration, it is not known if this is due simply to the osmotic effects of the salts or if it is related to the toxicity of specific ions. The effects of salinity on seed germination and seedling establishment could be the result of the influence of salts on metabolic processes, such as the mobilization of the stored reserves for the growing embryonic axis. The major reserves of the Cashew seeds are lipids, followed by carbohydrates, proteins, and other constituents. Germination and seedling establishment of Cashew underwater and saline stresses led to the inhibition of mobilization of the cotyledons reserves, mainly the lipids, resulting in a reduction of embryonic axis growth.
Growing Cashew tree from seed
- Seed germination is an easy process; just make sure that you use fresh Cashew seeds. (A Cashew seed is the Cashew nut still inside the kernel.) The seed should be no more than 4 months old and older and it won’t germinate. Dry fresh seeds in the sun for three days before seed sowing.
- To grow Cashew from seed, you need the entire raw seed, not just the nut. Be extremely cautious while handling Cashew seed and wear gloves as the outer shell or coat of the seed contains the poison oak allergen urushiol, and may cause dermatitis.
- Start Cashew seeds in pots, instead of planting straight into the ground. By doing this, you can give them a bit of extra attention. You can sow seeds into pots at any time of year, as they’ll grow happily in pots until they’re ready to be planted out.
- A Cashew seed may last up to 4 to 5 months but the sooner you plant them, the better. Soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight and discard any seed which is floating on the surface as it is not viable.
- The best time for sowing the Cashew seeds is early spring. Sow Cashew seeds into smaller individual pots or one larger pot. Sowing more than one seed increases their chances of producing a healthy Cashew tree. Then, weaker seedlings can be thinned out later on.
- The pot must be clean and also have drainage holes in the bottom. And Cashew tree seedlings are prone to phytophthora root rot. This means they shouldn’t be allowed to sit in overly wet soil. If there are no drainage holes in the pot, you’ll need to drill some into the bottom.
- Place the seeds in the pot at a slight angle, and at a depth of 5 to 10cm. Cover with fresh soil and water in. Keep the pots in a warm and light location. Don’t put them in direct sunlight too much heat can burn seedling leaves and cause plants to fail. The pots should be regularly checked to ensure that they don’t dry out.
- A good, general-purpose potting compost will be fine. Mix a handful of vermiculite into the soil to help to develop nutrient and moisture retention. Leave a gap of 1 inch at the top. Plant seeds at a depth of around 3 inches in the ground or potting mix. Cashew seeds will germinate in around 20 to 30 days.
- Newly planted seeds need a lot of water. So, the plants need to be watered in the morning and evening. Watering is done sufficiently and water does not spray until it inundated the Cashew plants.
- As the Cashew seedlings grow, make sure that they get plenty of light and water. If you’re unsure of how much water to give a Cashew plant, try watering it over a sink or bucket. When water begins to drip through the drainage holes, the soil has taken on enough moisture and stop watering.
Seed mass of Cashew trees
The overall seed germination percentage of two seed size categories of the Cashew plant reached 78.4 per cm. Seed germination under nursery conditions began 12 days after sowing and continued up to 28th day till the seed germination ceased to emerge. The variation in seed size has a strong influence on seed germination percentage with large sized seeds having higher seed germination percentage (81.6%) than medium-sized seeds (71.9%). In contrast, medium-sized seeds showed a faster seed germination process with a mean average time of 12 days compared to large-sized seeds which took 14 days for initial seed germination. Variations in seed mass showed a significant positive correlation with both germination percentage and mean germination time. There was wider inter-specific variability in seed mass among tropical Cashew tree species. Variation in seed mass was found to influence germination in Cashew tree varieties.
Weeding and fertilization of Cashew
Cashew seedlings begin to leaf and sprout after 2 to 3 months planted. Weed eradication must be done once in 45 days. The land is watered every day of course progressively solid and the air inside is getting less. As a result, the plant roots are not free to absorb nutrients. For that land around the Cashew, plants need to be eaten.
Cashew trees are fertilized with manure, compost, or artificial fertilizer. The provision of manure or compost is done by digging a circular trench, outside the canopy as much as ± 2 petrol blots. Fertilizer poured into a ditch and covered with soil. The next fertilization is done with artificial fertilizer.
Cashew harvesting can take place about 2 months after the fruit has set when the fruit takes on a pink or red cast and the nut turns gray. Otherwise, you can wait until the fruit falls to the ground when you know it’s ripe. After harvesting, twist the nuts off of the fruits by hand.
Commonly asked questions about Cashew seed germination
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What kind of soils is not suitable for Cashew farming?
Heavy clay soils with poor drainage conditions and excessive alkalinity and salinity soils as well as areas prone to waterlogging and hardpan are not suitable for growing Cashew trees.
How long does it take to grow Cashews?
If you want to grow Cashew trees, keep in mind that it will take 2 to 3 years from the time you plant until the time you harvest nuts.
Can Cashews be sprouted?
These are truly raw Cashews and it is recommended to sprout them by pre-soaking them in a saltwater solution to neutralize the phytic acid, though you must keep the soaking to no longer than 6 hours or the Cashews may turn slimy.
Can you soak Cashews for too long?
If Cashews are soaked too long then they acquire an unpleasant taste and texture. If you notice the water they are soaking in becomes slimy. They have been soaking in the same stagnant water for too long.
Conclusion of Cashew seed germination process
If you are a commercial cashew grower, you must be aware of the seed germination process of cashew. You may also like the Dragon Fruit Seed Germination, Time Period, Process.