PhD Student, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Iran
Professor, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Iran
Field experiment was conducted in 2008 at the Research Field of Agricultural College of Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran to investigate the effects of urban waste compost (UWC), manure and chemical fertilizer on the initial growth of corn (Zea mays). Experimental design was split plot factorial with three replications. Main plots were assigned to nitrogen (N) fertilizer (0 and 200 kg N ha-1), and sub plots were factorial application of municipal waste compost (0, 25 and 50 t ha-1) and manure (0, 25 and 50 t ha-1) with all possible combinations. Results showed that increase in urban waste compost and manure increased corn dry matter, height, stem diameter, leaf area, leaf number, SPAD meter readings and leaf N. There was a close relationship between SPAD meter readings and leaf N (R2=0.84). Correlation and path analyses showed that leaf area and SPAD readings are major components which affect corn dry matter at initial growth stage. Results of the present study revealed that organic fertilizer can improve initial growth of corn similar to chemical fertilizer. It can be concluded that manure and compost can be effective nutrient sources for corn production and can be considered as potential alternatives to chemical N fertilizer.