USE OF RHIZOSPHERE SOIL FOR RAISING <em>CEDRUS</em> <em>DEODARA</em> AND <em>QUERCUS</em> <em>SEMECARPIFOLIA</em> SEEDLINGS
Keywords:Nursery, afforestation, germination, microbial communities, biomass
Experiments were carried out in the nursery to develop a simple method to raise Cedrus deodara and Quercus semecarpifolia seedlings using their respective rhizosphere soil mixed with non-forest soil in various combinations. Different soil treatments, namely, control (non-forest soil); pure rhizosphere soil; rhizosphere soil, one part placed over nine parts of non-forest soil as top layer; and rhizosphere soil uniformly mixed with non-forest soil (1:9, v/v) were used in this study. Seeds were allowed to germinate in polybags. Observations were made on seed germination, seedling survival, rhizosphere microbial communities, nutrient status of soil as well as that of seedlings and overall growth of seedlings, six and twelve months after seed sowing. All treatments positively affected these parameters over the control. The treatment in which the rhizosphere soil was uniformly mixed in 1:9 ratio with the non-forest soil was most effective. The study has practical implications for raising healthy, vigorous seedlings for use in plantations, particularly in afforestation programmes.