The traditional land use system has become very fragile and unsustainable due
to unchecked and excessive exploitation, leading to large scale degradation
and consequent creation of wastelands. At the global level about 2322 m ha of
wastelands have been estimated, 50% of which are found in Asia alone (ISRIC-UNEP,
1990). In India about 175 million ha of the total geographical area is subjected
to various processes of land degradation due to soil erosion resulting during
rainy season (Singh et al., 1994a). These lands
are characterized by low organic matter and nitrogen status, poor availability
of phosphorus and poor retention capacity for both moisture and nutrients (Basu
et al., 2006). Moreover, due to untimely and irregular distribution
of rainfall, during the crop season they may be subjected to periodical drought.
In addition to that low income and poor resource to credit, inputs and modern
technologies, forced most farmers to keep these lands fallow for several years
resulting into creation of wastelands. However, these lands can be made cultivable
and productive by adopting suitable silvopasture production systems (Viswanatham
et al., 1998). Cultivation of suitable horticultural plants and grass
species can be most efficient scientific program to improve these lands.
Sabai grass (Eulaliopsis binata (Retz.) C.E. Hubb), a perennial plant,
is cultivated as a commercial crop in China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan,
Mayanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Phillipines. In India it is grown in the states
of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Its thin and long leaves
with high quality fiber constitute a major raw material for paper industries
(Barik, 1998; Gupta, 2006), also
the flexibility and strength properties of the leaves are utilized for making
ropes and other rope based utility items (Basu et al.,
2006; Gupta, 2006).
One of the reasons for low yield of this grass is the practice of taking one cut in the year only. Since the information are lacking on this aspect, the present investigation was carried out to find out the effect of cutting management and suitability of association of sabai grass with some horticultural plants like sapota (Pouteria sapota), pomegranate (Punica granatum), ber (Zizyphus jujuba) and drumstick (Moringa oleifera) under rainfed condition.
Materials and Methods
The experiment was conducted during 2003-04 to 2004-05 at Golghoria village, Kharagpur, India in red lateritic soil (Alfisol). The land was kept fallow for last 25 years. The climate of this region is warm humid and the soil is sandy loam with well drainage facility. The fertility status of the soil was low in terms of organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with pH value of 5.4. The experiment was laid out in a split plot design, where four horticultural plants viz., drumstick (Moringa oleifera), sapota (Pouteria sapota), ber (Zizyphus jujuba) and pomegranate (Punica granatum) were treated as main plot effect and two cutting managements viz., one cut in year during November and two cuts per year during November and March were treated as sub-plot treatments.
All the horticultural plants and slips of sabai grass with 10-12 tillers per slip were planted during the 2nd week of July. Pits of 1x1 m were made at a distance of 7x5 m for plantation of sapota, 5x5 m for ber and pomegranate and 4x5 m in case of drumstick. Data were recorded on growth parameters of sabai grass like leaf length, canopy coverage and number of tillers per clump at harvest and dry leaf yield.
The recorded data were analyzed with the help of analysis of variance (ANOVA)
for Split Plot Design (SPD). Least Significant Differences (LSD) were conducted
at a 5% level of probability, where significance was indicated by F-test (Gomez
and Gomez, 1984).
Cutting managements and various horticultural plants had significant effect on growth parameters like leaf length, canopy coverage and number of tiller per clump of sabai grass.
In the first year the lowest leaf length was recorded in association with drumstick, which was followed by ber. However, no remarkable difference was observed in association with sapota and pomegranate. In the second year also the performance of sabai grass was superior in case of pomegranate and sapota. Regarding cutting management two cuts proved to be significantly better than one cut and the difference was 5.4 and 7.6% in the first and second year, respectively (Table 1).
|| Leaf length (cm) of sabai grass as influenced by cutting
management and different horticultural plants
|*LSD= Least Significant Difference
||Canopy coverage (m2 per clump) of sabai grass as
influenced by cutting management and different horticultural plants
|| Number of tillers per clump of sabai grass as influenced
by cutting management and different horticultural plants
|*LSD= Least Significant Difference
It is clear from Fig. 1 that among the horticultural plants,
lower canopy coverage was recorded in association with drumstick as compared
to others. The maximum canopy coverage was found in association with sapota
and it was statistically at par with pomegranate. Like leaf length, the canopy
coverage per clump of sabai g rass was significantly influenced by cutting management
in both the years.
As regards the treatment combinations sapota with two cuts management resulted in the highest canopy coverage which was followed by pomegranate with two cuts management. The lowest leaf length was recorded in case of drumstick under one cut management and the difference was 18% over pooled mean of two years.
The trend of effect of cutting management and association of four horticultural plants on the tiller number per clump of sabai grass was same as leaf length and canopy coverage (Table 2). Among the four horticultural plants (on an average) the highest tiller number was obtained in association with sapota and the lowest value was found in association with drumstick and the difference was 12.6 and 16.8% in the first and second year, respectively. On an average, two cuts treatment resulted in 10.7 and 13.4% higher tiller number per clump over one cut management in the first year and second year, respectively.
Dry leaf yield of sabai grass was significantly affected by cutting management
and association with various horticultural plants (Table 3).
Higher leaf yield was noted in two cuts management as compared to one cut management
in both the years and on an average the difference was 29.6 and 33.4% in the
first year and second year, respectively. As regards the association of horticultural
plants, poor leaf yield of sabai grass was recorded in association with ber
|| Dry leaf yield (kg ha-1) of sabai grass as influenced
by cutting management and different horticultural plants
|*CM = Cutting Management; **LSD = Least Significant Difference
Maximum yield was recorded in association with sapota, which was statistically
at par with that of pomegranate. Among all the treatment combinations sapota
with two cuts management recorded the highest leaf yield and the lowest leaf
yield was recorded in case of drumstick under one cut management in both the
Growth and yield of sabai grass was significantly affected by association with
various horticultural plants and cutting management. The yield was higher in
the second year as compared to first year due to initial slow rate of growth
of the crop. Two cuts management recorded significantly higher yield as compared
to one crop management in both the years. This might be due to better crop stand
and vigorous re-growth after first cut in November under residual moisture in
post monsoon season. Tripathy (1998) also reported higher
sabai grass yield under two cuts management as compared to one cut management.
The growth and yield of sabai grass was inferior in association with ber and
drumstick as compared to sapota and pomegranate. This may be due to the less-spread
canopy structure of pomegranate and sapota, whereas the same in case of ber
is horizontal and near to the ground causing smothering effect on the near by
sabai grass plants. Drumsticks with higher canopy coverage suppress the growth
of sabai grass. The canopy of drumstick trees allowed less sunlight penetration
facilitating poor growth of sabai grass in comparison to ber (Qarro
and De-Montard, 1989). The tree cover generally suppresses the growth and
dry matter yield of grasses due to competition effects of various resources
(Qarro and De-Montard, 1989) especially light. The adverse
effect was more pronounced in the vicinity of the trees (Walker
et al., 1986). The varied extent and amount of effect of trees on
growth and yield of sabai grass could also be explained by the physical and
physiological influences by the tree canopies (Bhatt et
al., 1994). Almost comparable growth and yield was noted in association
with sapota and pomegranate. This might be due to similarity in their canopy
coverage in both the years.
From the present study it can be concluded that among the four associated horticultural plants sapota and pomegranate was proved to be most suitable, whether the worst performance of sabai grass regarding growth and yield was obtained in association with drumstick followed by ber. Regarding cutting management two cuts was proved to be advantageous with respect to yield as compared to one cut management. As all the plants are perennial in nature, research in this area for a longer time is necessary to obtain maximum benefit from the system without affecting their growth.