International Journal of Plant Science and Ecology
Articles Information
International Journal of Plant Science and Ecology, Vol.1, No.2, Apr. 2015, Pub. Date: Mar. 14, 2015
Decomposition Rates and Nutrient Release Patterns of Tephrosia vogelii and Tephrosia candida Residues in Malawi
Pages: 26-35 Views: 4166 Downloads: 1438
Authors
[01] Munthali M. G., University of Nairobi, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Land Resource Management and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
[02] Gachene C. K. K., University of Nairobi, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Land Resource Management and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
[03] Karanja N. K., University of Nairobi, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Department of Land Resource Management and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
[04] Sileshi G. W., World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Southern Africa Regional Programme, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Abstract
The main input of nutrients in agroforestry systems is achieved through biomass decomposition. A study was carried out to determine the rates of decomposition and N and P release pattern from T. vogelii and T. candida plant residues using litterbag experiments in Malawi. The plant residue treatments included Tephrosia biomass alone or in combination with maize stover. For each treatment, sixteen replicates of litter bags were buried in the soil at the depth of 20cm and Samples were drawn from each litter bag at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 week intervals and were analyzed to determine remaining dry matter weight (DMW), N and P. The fastest decomposition rates (k) recorded when T. vogelii or T. candida leaves + twigs + stover were combined, while the slowest was when twigs alone or maize stover alone were used. The Tephrosia residues were high in N (>3.5%) and P (critical value of >2.0%). The N release rates were fastest from twigs of T. vogelii or T. candida followed by maize stover alone, while the slowest release was when T. vogelii leaves were combined with twigs. P release pattern from residues was the same as N release. No N and P immobilization was observed throughout the study period. The results have clearly demonstrated that that the Tephrosia fallow biomass alone decompose considerably faster attaining their half-life within 2–3 weeks and over 95% within 8–25 weeks but when mixed with maize stover (alow quality farm residues) decomposition was slowed down. Therefore, Tephrosia fallow biomass can be used for short-term correction of soil fertility.
Keywords
Tephrosia, Decomposition, Release Pattern, Litterbag, Soil Fertility
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