Multispecies Tree Gardens and Alley Cropping (Hedge Row Intercropping)


Multispecies Tree Gardens and Alley Cropping (Hedge Row Intercropping)

Multispecies Tree Gardens:

 In this system of agroforestry, various kinds of tree species are grown mixed. The major purpose of this system is production of food, fodder, wood for home consumption and sale for cash.

Major woody species involved, coconut, Arecanut, Artocarpus spp. Phoenix dectillifera, Acacia, catechu.
Alley Cropping (Hedge Row Intercropping):

 This system involves managing rows of closely planted woody plants with the annual crop planted in alley in between hedges. The woody plants are cut regularly and leaves and twigs are used as mulch on the cropped alley in order to reduce evaporation from the soil surface suppress weeds and add nutrients to the soil, N fixing plants are the main component of the hedgerows. The primarily purpose of alley cropping is to maintain or increase crop yield by improvement of the soil and microclimate and weed control. Farmers may also obtain the products from the hedgerows, including fuel, poles, food etc. and fodder. Alley cropping usually works best in places where people feel a need to intensity crop production but face soil fertility problems.


Without doubt, trees compete with farm crops for soil nutrients, soil moisture and light. However, the right kind of trees at the right spacing, with proper management may actual by produce a net increase in yield.

The position and spacing of hedgerow and crop plants in an alley depend on plant spp. Climate, slope, soil conditions and convenience. In general, hedgerow should be placed in E-W direction at the distance of 4to 8m. The closer spacing is generally used in humid areas and the wider spacing in semi-arid regions.

On sloping land hedgerows should always be placed on the contour. Usually leguminous trees/shrubs are included to improve soil fertility. Tree/shrub spp. for alley should have following characteristics.

i) It should have a sparse and small crow to permit sunlight to pass through.
ii) It should be capable to respond rapidly.
iii) It should form deep root system.
iv) It’s leaf litter should decomposes at faster rate.
v) It should be capable to fix atmospheric nitrogen.
vi) It should be useful as wood, food, and fodder etc.
vii) It should be hardy enough to tolarate saline/acidic/ drought/waterlogged conditions.
viii) Glyricidia sepium, Sesbania spp., Leucaena leucocephala, Casea spp. Gmnelia arboria are commonly used in alley cropping.

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