Beneficial Effects of Intercropping on the Growth and Nitrogen Status of Young Wild Cherry and Hybrid Walnut Trees
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 66, Number 1, January 2006 , pp. 13-21(9)
Abstract:Growing concern for economic and environmental issues emphasizes the potential value of intercropping systems in temperate regions. However, the selection of relevant tree species to be associated with crops has been little documented. The growth and the nitrogen nutrition of two economically valuable species, wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) and hybrid walnut (Juglans nigra L.×Juglans regia L.), were compared over six years after plantation. These two species were associated with non-irrigated cereal crops in the agroforestry treatment or grown separately (weeded control and fallow). Intercropping increased diameter growth as soon as year 2 in the two species. Leaf biomass assessment using allometric models showed an earlier and greater leaf biomass increase in hybrid walnut than in wild cherry tree. After six years, the relative growth increase of the agroforestry trees with respect to the control trees varied with the parameter considered (diameter at breast height from +26 to +65%, leaf biomass from +54 to +142%) and with the tree species (higher relative growth for hybrid walnut trees). The beneficial effect on tree growth can be accounted for in terms of enhanced nitrogen nutrition. The tree–crop association in intercropping systems, which improves tree growth, might thus allow the planting of more demanding trees on soils of lower fertility.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: UMR DYNAFOR – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, BP 27, 31326, Castanet Tolosan Cedex, France, 2: UMR ARCHE – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, BP 27, 31326, Castanet Tolosan Cedex, France, 3: UMR DYNAFOR – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, BP 27, 31326, Castanet Tolosan Cedex, France, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: January 1, 2006