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Short Essay on Intercropping

The practice of growing any economic crop in alley spaces of the fruit trees in the first few years is referred as intercropping.

Principles:

1. Intercrops should not occupy the area where the roots of the fruit trees are concentrated.

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2. Soil fertility should be maintained or improved when intercrops are grown.

3. Water requirements of the intercrop should be coincide with those of the main fruit trees. The intercrop may require an irrigation at a time when it is detrimental to the trees.

4. Intercrops should be selected with reference to their effect on soil moisture.

Vegetable are the best intercrops compared to millets. The intercropping should be stopped when trees occupy the entire orchard space. Therefore green manuring or cover crop should be practised.

Some quick growing fruit trees could be grown as intercrop as in some places in temperate regions peach intercropped in apple.

In properly spaced mango orchards guava tree can be planted to bear fruits in 2-3 years and then removed. Such short-lived trees are known as fillers. Papayas, bananas or phalsa may be grown as fillers in orchards.

CropAgeIntercrop
Mangoupto 7 yearsLegume vegetables, papaya (filler)
GrapesUpto 8 monthsSnake gourd, bitter gourd in pandal
Apple, pearupto 5 yearsPotato, cabbage
Bananaupto 4 monthsSunlemp, onion
Arecanutupto 10 yearsPineapple
Coconutupto 3 yearsBanana, tapioca, vegetables

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