Tropical Grasslands (1986) Volume 20, 127–134

EFFECT OF FERTILISER AND WEED CONTROL ON THE EMERGENCE AND EARLY GROWTH OF FIVE LEGUMINOUS FODDER SHRUBS

BARBARA V. MAASDORP1 and R.C. GUTTERIDGE2

1Department of Crop Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Harare, Zimbabwe.
2Department of Agriculture, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4067, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted at Mt Cotton, southeast Queensland, to examine the effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers and weed control on the emergence and early growth of five leguminous shrubs. Under good nutrition and no weed competition, the shoot dry matter yield at 11 weeks was 294, 239, 66, 25 and 21 g m-1 of row for Sesbania sesban, S. formosa, Leucaena leucocephala, Acacia angustissima and Calliandra calothrysus, respectively.
The taller, faster growing Sesbania species were less susceptible to weed competition than the other three species, their yields being reduced by c. 65% as compared to c. 80% for the others. The application at sowing of N (100 kg N ha-1) and P (200 kg P ha-1) fertiliser in a band near the seed increased the growth of the two Sesbania species but depressed yields in the other 3 species. Weed yield increased with fertiliser application in the presence of C. calothrysus and L. leucocephala and was unaffected in the presence of the others. Fertiliser adversely affected seedling emergence and nodulation in all species.

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