Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 285–302 | Cite as

Microclimate and soil moisture effects of three intercrops on the rows of a newly-planted intercropped plantation

  • P. A. Williams
  • A. M. Gordon


Trees are grown in intercropping systems for a variety of purposes including wood products, fuelwood, fruit, forage or conservation purposes. No matter what end use, different tree/crop combinations interact differently resulting in differential growth rates of the trees during establishment. Preliminary work has shown that seedling growth and survival of trees are related to their intercrop and the results of this study help to explain these findings. Soil water potential, soil and air temperature, relative humidity, windspeed, and light (photosynthetic photon flux density — PPFD) were measured throughout the growing season in the clean-weeded treerows within crops of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. Crop height and biomass were also measured. This study was conducted during the 1992 growing season which was unusually cool and wet from mid June into the winter. The growth of winter wheat, measured by crop height and above-ground biomass, was earlier in the season than that of soybeans and corn, and this pattern affected the environmental conditions in the tree rows. Soil water potential was affected with associated effects on soil temperature (in combination with other factors). Crop height drastically reduced windspeed in the corn treatment from July through winter, also affecting PPFD and soil temperature later in the year. Although many microclimate differences were relatively small, data from subsequent years as well as associated soil moisture studies and additional years will help to further elucidate these relationships.

Key words

intercropping microclimate soil moisture competition temperate 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Williams
    • 1
  • A. M. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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