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Effects of Gliricidia sepium (Jacq) Steud and Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit on growth and develoment of Imperata cylindrica (L.) Reuschel
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Field studies carried out in a forest transition site on a tropical Alfisol in southwestern Nigeria, show that shading by gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Steud) and leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit) hedgerow species reduced density of speargrass (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel) by 67% and 51%, respectively. Shoot biomass of speargrass decreased by 81% and 78% in gliricidia and leucaena hedgerows, respectively. Reduction in speargrass rhizome biomass in gliricidia plots was 96% while rhizome reduction in the leucaena plots was nearly 90%. Rhizome mortality was significantly higher in gliricidia plots than in leucaena and control plots. The bulk of rhizomes was found between 10 cm and 20 cm of soil depth but rhizome did not penetrate further than 30 cm depth in the Alfisol in which this study was carried out. Gliricidia was better than leucaena hedgerow species in suppressing speargrass.