African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Influence of selected tree species on soil characteristics, growth and yield of maize in Western Kenya

Noella Ekhuya
  • Noella Ekhuya
  • Departmement of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P. O. Box 62000-00200 Nairobi, Kenya.
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John Wesonga
  • John Wesonga
  • Departmement of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P. O. Box 62000-00200 Nairobi, Kenya.
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Jonathan Muriuki
  • Jonathan Muriuki
  • World Agroforestry Centre, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, P. O. Box 30677-0100 Nairobi, Kenya.
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Jeremias Mowo
  • Jeremias Mowo
  • World Agroforestry Centre, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, P. O. Box 30677-0100 Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 06 May 2014
  •  Accepted: 15 April 2015
  •  Published: 11 June 2015

Abstract

Low purchasing power of inorganic fertilizers by farmers among other factors has led to a decrease in maize production in Kenya. Growing trees on-farm can improve the situation. A study was carried out at three sites in Western Kenya to investigate the effects of selected tree species on total organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, pH, growth and yield of maize. Top soil (0 to 15cm) and maize plants were sampled for measurements under the canopies of selected tree species at (2, 7 and 12 m) from trees. A complete randomized block design with four tree species, three levels of distance and three stages of growth was used. Soils under Grevillea robusta had a significantly higher pH (p=0.02) at Ulafu. Soil CEC under G. robusta and Leuceana leucocephalla were significantly lower (p< 0.001) compared to Markhamia lutea and Mangifera indica at Ulafu. Maize under G. robusta at Bumula had the highest yield (3.91 t ha-1). A significantly lower (p=0.001) maize yield was revealed under M indica in both Ulafu and Ndere. The study suggests some positive influences from all the trees by increasing total organic carbon in soils. Therefore, increasing the number of trees on farms may improve soil fertility and maize production.

 

Key words: Soil pH, total organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, tree species, maize growth and yield.