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Effect of plant density and cutting frequency on the productivity of four tree legumes

Effect of plant density and cutting frequency on the productivity of four tree legumes

Tropical Grasslands 23(1): 28-34

In a wet/dry tropical environment the tropical tree legumens Calliandra calothyrsus, Sesbania grandiflora, Leucaena leucocephala and Gliricidia sepium were planted at a density of 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 40,000 trees/ha and cut at intervals of either 6 or 12 weeks. Only 70% of the S. grandiflora trees survived cutting to the end of the first year. Total leaf production was similar for L. leucocephala, C. calothyrsus and G. sepium (mean 8.4 t/ha/yr), while S. grandiflora produced less than half that amount. Yield was positively related to rainfall, and L. leucocephala had the highest yield of all species in the dry season. In all species, both leaf and wood yield were positively related to tree density in the wet, but not, or to a lesser extent, in the dry season. Apart from S. grandiflora, the 12-week cutting interval resulted in a higher yield than the 6-week interval in the wet season. This effect was more pronounced for wood than for leaf yield.

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