Two-year field trials were conducted to evaluate the role of spacing in managing flea beetle, Podagrica sp., infestation in two okra cultivars. Three seeds were planted per hole and later thinned to one seedling per hole at two weeks after planting (WAP). The four planting spacings used were 60 × 70 cm, 60 × 60 cm, 60 × 50 cm and 60 × 40 cm. The experiment was replicated three times and conducted using split plot fitted into a randomized complete block design with planting spacing as main treatment and cultivars as sub-treatment. The okra cultivars planted at close spacing of 60 × 50 cm and 60 × 40 cm had a significantly (P < 0.05) lower pods length and high mean leaf area damage. The highest mean number of flea beetles (24.50 and 23.17) were from the okra cultivars Jokoso and NH-Ae 47-4 planted at the closest spacing of 60 × 40 cm. Cumulative of the two planting seasons, the highest yield per plant (138.17) was obtained from plots planted at 60 × 70 cm with the okra cultivar NH-Ae 47-4. It was however, not (P > 0.05) higher than yield/plant (129.17 g) from plots planted at 60 × 60 cm. In both seasons and cumulatively, a significantly (P < 0.05) lower pod yield per plant was obtained from plots planted at closest plant spacing of 60 × 40 cm. Irrespective of cultivar, okra planted at close spacing of 60 × 50 cm and 60 × 40 cm were significantly (P < 0.05) taller than okra in other plots. Cumulative of the two seasons, the number of pods (22.95), length of pod (6.71), number of leaves (8.96) and yield/plant (118.25 g) were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in Jokoso. Planting okra at planting spacing of 60 × 70 cm or 60 × 60 cm could manage the population of flea beetle, minimize damage to leaves and guarantee optimum yield from planted okra.
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Vol. 20 • No. 1