ROOTING-BEHAVIOUR OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PINEAPPLE PROPAGATING MATERIAL
Under non-irrigated conditions, Py recorded 40% of flowering with suckers, 10% with slips and 2% with crowns in one growing-season. Godfrey-Sam-Aggrey (1969) noted that suckers and slips are commonly used in Ghana and that crowns are rarely used, presumably because they are late in reaching maturity. No convincing reasons have been advanced by any of the authors quoted for the early fruiting of ratoons or suckers. Ochse et al (1961), however, stated that the reason for using ratoons or suckers in commercial planting was that "they develop while the parent plant is still vegetative and since they come from subterranean buds, ratoons will grow into mature specimens most quickly. About 12 months are necessary for them to produce a crop, provided they are removed at the proper stage".
It was considered possible that, since ratoons and suckers are in closer contact with the ground and are some distance from the influence of apical dominance, they are potentially capable of maturing more rapidly than either slips or crowns. They are also likely to have latent root initials so that, when planted, ratoons and suckers establish a stronger and larger root system which gives them a nutritional advantage over slips and crowns. To test this hypothesis, an experiment was designed in which the roots produced by the different types of planting-material would be washed, counted and measured weekly.