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ROLE OF Gliricidia sepium ON PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT OF GRAVELLY SOIL

Authors:

L P. VIDHANA ARACHCHI ,

COCOS, LK
About L P.
Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka.
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M. DE S. LIYANAGE

LK
About M. DE S.
Coconut Research Institute, Lunuwila, Sri Lanka.
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Abstract

The Andigama soil series, which is widespread in coconut lands, is known to have
poor physical characters restricting palm growth and yield in die intermediate zone
of Sri Lanka. This study was carried out to investigate the possibility of improving
degraded soil conditions of Andigama series by intercropping with Gliricidia
sepium under coconut. Gliricidia sepium was established in a 45 year old coconut
plantation in double rows of 2 m x 1 m and arranged in a Randomized Block Design
with four replicates. The effect on soil physical characters such as texture, bulk
density, aeration capacity, moisture retention and root distribution pattern of
Gliricidia sepium were studied.
Results revealed that clay fraction cemented with gravel significantly increased
( P < 0 . 0 5 ) bulk density (1.62 ± 0.07). It acts as a physical barrier and reduced
readily available water fraction in B horizon. The available water fraction in A, AB
and B horizons decreased by 66% before reaching 1 bar (100 kPa) suction in 7, 9
and 11 days respectively during the dry period. Root proliferation of Gliricidia
sepium through hard layers significantly reduced the bulk density (P<0.001) which
resulted in improving aeration capacity, total and readily available water. Moreover,
results showed that with the improved soil conditions by Gliricidia sepium, coconut
root growth also increased by 5.3%, 9 1% and 2 1% in A, AB and B horizons
respectively. These studies strongly suggested that Gliricidia sepium plays a major
role in improving physical characters of infertile gravelly soils.
How to Cite: VIDHANA ARACHCHI, L.P. & LIYANAGE, M.D.S., (2010). ROLE OF Gliricidia sepium ON PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT OF GRAVELLY SOIL. COCOS. 11, pp.40–52. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cocos.v11i0.2157
Published on 10 Aug 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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