A field experiment was conducted to assess the effect of competition between a leucaena hybrid and maize (Zea mays L.) when planted simultaneously in an alley cropping system. The leucaena hybrid (a cross between L. diversifolia and L. leucocephala) was planted at hedgerow spacings of 3 and 5.25 m, while maize was planted in rows 75 cm apart between the hedgerows. The spacing between the leucaena hedgerow and maize was varied by removal of 0, l or 2 rows of maize to give three spacing treatments of 37.5, 75 or 112.5 cm between leucaena and maize. A control plot of leucaena alone was also included in the treatments. The growth and yield of individual maize rows were virtually unaffected by the presence of leucaena, but maize had a significant influence on the growth and yield of leucaena. At full maize canopy development, photosynthetically active radiation reaching the leucaena was reduced in all treatments, resulting in a 75% yield reduction in leucaena at the closest spacing. Overall, maize grain yield reached 10.3 t ha−1 in the continuous maize plots (37.5 cm treatment). This was reduced by up to 40% after removal of two maize rows in the closest leucaena row spacing treatment. The implications of these results for the practical establishment of leucaena hedgerows with a maize crop are discussed.
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