EFFECT OF AGE OF LEAVES OF SAMANEA SAMAN (JACQUIN) MERRILL. ON UTILITY AS GREEN MANUREJ. ACINTA GEORGE AND BEHNAZ B. PATEL
To fully exploit the -iii-icept that frees improve soil, a very common and abundant legume Samanea saman ( Jacqu n ) was selected tor stuci V to establish the stage of growth at the time of litter collection as an important i.rop factor intliiencing its relative nutritive value with respect to residue mineral content and the chemical tactors affecting rate of degradation and nutrient mineralization. Measurements of moisture, nitrogen (N), carbon (C), fibre, lignin, cellulose and polvphenols were made to obtain suitability of the leaves for composting whereas the C: N, N, polyphenols: N, lignin + polyphenols: N, cellulose + lignin: N was determined to correlate with rate of degradation and nutrient mineralization. The young leaves decomposed at a faster rate registering a higher N and P content, whereas the old leaves exhibited a higher Ca content and greater N mineralization potential. Samanea saman would thus be an excellent prospect for agroforestry programmes providing a good solution to soil fertility problems with benefits profited from both pruning of young leaves and natural shedding of old leaves. The high percentage of low quality organic material in the leaf litters would also lead to enhanced accumulation of soil organic matter (humus) increasing soil fertility and reducing soil degradation.
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