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TheScientificWorldJOURNAL
Volume 1 (2001), Pages 90-95
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2001.300
Research Article

Gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) Green Manures as a Potential Source of N for Maize Production in the Tropics

Department of Land Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor DE, Malaysia

Academic Editor: Joe Wisniewski

Copyright © 2001 Abdul R. Bah and Zaharah A. Rahman.

Abstract

Use of cheap, N-rich, and environmentally benign legume green manures to correct N deficiency in infertile soils is a very attractive option in the humid tropics. Understanding the influence of management and climate on their effectiveness, and quantifying their contribution to crop productivity, is therefore crucial for technology adoption and adaptation. Mineral N buildup and the contribution to N uptake in maize were studied in an Ultisol amended with fresh Gliricidia leaves. Net mineral N accumulation was compared in mulched and incorporated treatments in a field incubation study. The 15N isotope dilution technique was used to quantify N supplied to maize by Gliricidia leaves in an alley cropping. Mineral N accumulation was slow, but was much greater after incorporation than after mulching. Also, N buildup was always higher in the topsoil (0 to 10 cm) than in the subsoil (10 to 20 cm). More NO3-N was leached than NH4-N, and the effect was greater in the incorporated treatment. Surface-applied Gliricidia leaves significantly increased N uptake by maize, and supplied >30% of the total N in the stover and >20% of that in the corn grain, even in the presence of hedgerows. Thus Gliricidia leaf mulch has immense potential to improve productivity in tropical soils.