The use of cover crops in intercropping is an important strategy for soil management and conservation, the improvement of edaphic conditions, and the optimization of cultivation of intercropped plants of commercial interest. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the water content and soil nutrient as well as initial growth of some fruit trees native to the Cerrado, Brazil. That is, Eugenia dysenterica Mart. ex DC., Dipteryx alata Vogel and Caryocar brasiliense Camb., when intercropped with Arachis pintoi L., Crotalaria spectabilis Roth., Dolichos lablab L., and Urochloa decumbens Stapf., with nitrogen (81 kg N ha-1) and Urochloa decumbens without nitrogen (Urochloa decumbens Stapf.) treatments. Fruit tree nutrient uptake, the biomass production of the cover crops, and the effects of the cover crops on soil moisture were evaluated. It was noted that C. spectabilis and D. lablab were less effective at maintaining soil moisture, but resulted in the highest nitrogen concentrations in E. dysenterica and D. alata leaves SO, these cover plants are recommended for these native species. The highest nitrogen concentrations in C. brasiliense were measured in response to N fertilizer. A. pintoi produced less biomass than the remaining cover crops tested, but resulted in the lowest soil moisture losses, justifying its use for soil moisture conservation.
Key words: Cerrado fruits, green fertilization, biomass, soil moisture, growth.
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