Woody legumes as live support systems in yam cultivation
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This paper reports on the use of three leguminous perennials (Leucaena leucocephala, Flemingia macrophylla and Gliricidia sepium) as live support systems in yam cultivation. In a planting arrangement in which yam rows alternated with rows of the woody species the tuber yields per ha were 3.4 (leucaena), 5.3 (flemingia) and 10.1 (gliricidia) ton fresh weight. TUKEY's L.S.D. value equalled 2.9 ton.
Leucaena leucocephala is unsuitable as live support since the species shows a strong competitive power expressed in terms of leaf productivity and relative density of the root mass in the upper soil stratum, the zone explored by the yam crop.
Flemingia macrophylla is unsuitable as support species mainly because of its structural weakness: Its branches do not sufficiently lignify to carry the yam leaf mass.
The significantly higher tuber yield of the yam crop grown with Gliricidia sepium is a function of specific properties of the tree species: Low leaf productivity, a relatively weakly developed root system and an open architecture, which leaves sufficient space for a yam crop grown in association.
Key wordsGliricidia sepium Leucaena leucocephala Flemingia macrophylla live support systems Water Yam (Dioscorea alata, cv Brazo Fuerte) plant architecture root systems
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