Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 197–215 | Cite as

Soil fertility changes and response of maize and beans to green manures of leucaena, sesbania and pigeonpea

  • J. F. M. Onim
  • M. Mathuva
  • K. Otieno
  • H. A. Fitzhugh


Three multipurpose tree species (MPTS)-leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala), sesbania (Sesbania sesban var. nubica) and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) were pruned at a height of 60 cm above the ground every two months, and resulting plant biomass was incorporated into the soil as green manure. For comparison, maize (Zea mays) stover was also incorporated into some plots, while some other plots were left fallow. Varying quantities of plant biomass which were incorporated into the soil over a period of 12 months caused large changes in major soil plant nutrients, and it substantially improved soil fertility. To test for improved soil fertility, test crops of maize and beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) were grown on the plots after six biomass incorporations of 4806, 13603, 16659 and 7793 kg. ha−1yr−1 for pigeonpea, sesbania leucaena and maize, respectively. Responses of the test crops indicated that sesbania and leucaena green manures improved maize stover, cobs and grain yields; and bean haulms and grain yields by 77.6% when compared to fallow plots. Residual effects of green manures still resulted in significant (P < 0.05) yield differences in the test cropin the third testing season. Economic significance of green manures in increasing food crop yields to small scale farmers is discussed.

Key words

Agroforestry green manure leucaena sesbania pigeonpea soil fertility maize beans 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. M. Onim
    • 1
  • M. Mathuva
    • 2
  • K. Otieno
    • 2
  • H. A. Fitzhugh
    • 1
  1. 1.Winrock International Institute for Agricultural DevelopmentMasenoKenya
  2. 2.Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)MasenoKenya

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