Dynamics of non-structural carbohydrate reserves in pruned Erythrina poeppigiana and Gliricidia sepium trees
Authors: Chesney, Patrick; Vasquez, Nelly
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 69, Number 2, February 2007 , pp. 89-105(17)
Abstract:In alley cropping systems, fast growing leguminous trees are pruned to reduce competition with crops for light and to provide organic inputs for crop nutrition. Tree regrowth depends on non-structural carbohydrate reserves in the remaining tree parts. In this study, the dynamics of starch and soluble carbohydrates in roots and stems of completely pruned (all shoots removed), partially pruned (one branch retained on the pruned stump) and unpruned Erythrina poeppigiana (Walp.) O.F. Cook and Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. trees were studied under humid tropical conditions in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Measurements on starch and soluble carbohydrates in roots and stems were made at 0, 2, 6 and 12 weeks after pruning during both a “rainy” and a “dry” season. In general, the dynamics of non-structural carbohydrates in roots and stems of pruned E. poeppigiana and G. sepium trees were similar. Starch concentration was highest in unpruned trees and higher in roots than in stems of pruned trees. The effect of pruning intensity was first observed in stems, and starch reserves were more depleted in stems than in roots, an effect more evident during the “dry” season. The critical tree regrowth stage for starch mobilisation was that of vigorous sprout development at six or four weeks after pruning particularly in completely pruned trees. At this time, fine root biomass and length and nodule biomass in pruned trees decreased. Survival of fine roots and nodules was greater in partially pruned than in completely pruned trees. Starch accumulation in roots recommenced at 12 weeks after pruning in G. sepium, and later than 12 weeks after pruning in E. poeppigiana roots. This study showed that E. poeppigiana responded better to pruning regimes than G. sepium. Recovery of trees after pruning is better when trees are partially pruned than when completely pruned.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2007-02-01