Effect of tree pruning and pruning application to trees on nitrogen fixation by Leucaena and Gliricidia

Abstract

A microplot study was conducted with Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium to determine the effect of pruning the trees and applying the prunings to the soil (as either surface mulch or soil-incorporated green manure) on N2 fixation by the trees. N2 fixation was estimated by the 15N dilution method, and the non-N2-fixing species Senna siamea was used as a reference species. Number and dry weight of nodules were reduced with applications of prunings in Leucaena, and increased in Gliricidia. For both species, the lowest rate of N2 fixation (47%) occurred under green manure incorporation after pruning, and the highest (66%) with mulching and no-pruning. Incorporation of green manure into soil significantly depressed N2 fixation by 19.1% in Gliricidia and 20.6% in Leucaena compared to no-pruning treatment. The deleterious effect of incorporation of prunings into soil also affected the amount of N2 fixed. During the nine months following pruning, green manure incorporation steadily decreased the percentage of N2 fixed, whereas with no-pruning, pruning only and pruning with mulching, N2 fixation increased with time. Reduction of N2 fixation in pruned plants could imply that they would compete for N with interplanted food crops, causing lower N use efficiency by the latter. Despite lower dry-matter and N yields of Leucaena as compared with Gliricidia, its biological N2 fixation amounted to 73% of its N requirement as opposed to the corresponding figures of 50% for Gliricidia.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Diatloff A (1973) Leucaena needs inoculation. Queensl Agric J 99: 642–644

    Google Scholar 

  2. Dreyfus B, Diem HG, Freire J, Keya SO and Dommergues YR (1987) Nitrogen fixation in tropical agriculture and forestry. In: DaSilva EJ, Dommergues YR, Nyns EJ and Ratledge C (eds) Microbiological Technology in the Developing World, pp 7–50. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

    Google Scholar 

  3. Duhoux E and Dommergues Y (1985) The use of nitrogen fixing trees in forestry and soil restoration in the tropics. In: Ssali H and Keya SO (eds) Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Africa, pp 384–400. Nairobi Mircen, Kenya

    Google Scholar 

  4. Fried M and Middelboe V (1977) Measurement of amount of nitrogen fixed by a legume crop. Plant and Soil 47: 713–715

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Gibson AH (1977) The influence of the environment and managerial practice on the legumerhizobium symbiosis. In: Gibson AH (ed) A Treatise on Dinitrogen Fixation. IV: Agronomy and Ecology, pp 393–450. John Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  6. Kadiata BD and Mulongoy K (1995) Early nitrogen fixation and utilization in Albizia lebbeck, Leucaena leucocephala, and Gliricidia sepium using nitrogen (15N) labelling. Comm Soil Sci Plant Anal 26 (9 & 10): 1397–1409

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kang BT, Wilson GF and Spikens L (1981) Alley cropping maize (Zea mays L.) and leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala Lam. de Wit) in southern Nigeria. Plant and Soil 63: 165–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Kang BT, Wilson GF and Lawson TL (1984) Alley Cropping, a Stable Alternative to Shifting Cultivation. IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria, 22 pp

    Google Scholar 

  9. Lawson TL and Lal R (1979) Response of maize to surface and buried straw mulch on a tropical Alfisol. In: Lal R (ed) Soil Tillage and Crop Production. Proceedings Series 2, pp 63–74. IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria

    Google Scholar 

  10. Mulongoy K and Van der Meersch MK (1988) Nitrogen contribution by leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) prunings to maize in an alley cropping system. Biol Fertil Soils 6: 282–285

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Nyamai DO (1990) Nitrogen fixation by leguminous trees: fixed nitrogen availability in mixedcrop systems and its effects on soil nitrogen capital. In: Gresshoff PM, Roth LE, Stacey G and Newton WE (eds) Nitrogen Fixation: Achievements and Objectives, p 665. Chapman & Hall, New York

    Google Scholar 

  12. Paul EA and Clark FE (1989) Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry. Academic Press Inc, San Diego, California, USA

    Google Scholar 

  13. Rachie KO (1983) Intercropping tree legumes with annual crops. In: Huxley PA (ed) Plant research and agroforestry, pp 103–116. ICRAF, Nairobi

    Google Scholar 

  14. Richards JE and Soper RJ (1979) Effect of N fertilizer on yield, protein content, and symbiotic N2 fixation in fababeans. Agron J 71: 807–811

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. SAS (1985) SAS User's Guide: Basics. SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC, USA

    Google Scholar 

  16. Venkateswarlu B and Singh RP (1988) Nodulation and nitrogenase activity patterns of Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium during early stages of growth. Leucaena Res Rep 9: 55–58

    Google Scholar 

  17. Wilson GF, Kang BT and Mulongoy K (1986) Alley cropping: trees as sources of green manure and mulch in the tropics. Biol Agric Hort 3: 251–267

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kadiata, B.D., Mulongoy, K. & Isirimah, N.O. Effect of tree pruning and pruning application to trees on nitrogen fixation by Leucaena and Gliricidia. Agroforestry Systems 39, 117–128 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005957206624

Download citation

  • green manure
  • mulch
  • pruning
  • woody legumes