Makaza and Shoko
Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences Vol. 3 (5), pp. 417-426, May 2013.
ISSN: 2276-7770 © 2011 Greener Journals
Manuscript Number: 042913592
Effect of Litter Quality and Inorganic-N on Decomposition and Nitrogen Release in Alley Cropping from Three Leguminous Agroforestry Tree Species
*K. Makaza and M.D. Shoko
Department of Soil and Plant Sciences. Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. Great Zimbabwe University.
P. O. Box 1235. Masvingo. Zimbabwe.
*Corresponding Author’s Email: kasirayi @ gmail. com
The effects of litter quality and inorganic nitrogen (N) on
rate of decomposition and N release pattern by three
leguminous woody species were investigated under field
conditions by the litterbag technique. The research was
carried out in Zambia. The alley trees were Leucaena
leucocephala, Senna siamea and Flemingia macrophylla. Maize
was the companion crop. Dried leaf litters were placed
inside litterbags and buried into the top 10-15 cm depth of
soil. The four inorganic N levels were 0, 34, 68, and 112
kgNha-1. Samples were drawn at intervals of 2, 4,
8, 12, and 16 weeks and were analysed to determine remaining
dry matter weight, N, lignin, cellulose, polyphenol and
carbon. Major findings were that L. leucocephala and
S. siamea decomposed significantly faster than F. macrophylla.
It was also observed that the level of inorganic N had a
significant effect on decomposition rate. These results show
that both the chemical composition of plant residues and
level of inorganic fertiliser N applied increased the rate
of plant residue decomposition.
Key words: Decomposition, Nitrogen release, Litterbag technique, Leguminous woody species, Alley cropping.