The effects of planting density on growth and development of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg., clone RRIC 100) and banana (Musa spp. cv. Kolikuttu) were examined to determine the optimum planting density of banana when grown in combination with rubber. The experiment comprised five treatments, sole crop rubber (R), sole crop banana (B) and three intercropping treatments consisting of an additive series of one (BR), two (BBR) and three (BBBR) rows of banana to one row of rubber. Planting density of banana was 500, 1000, 1500 and 1700 plants ha−1 in the BR, BBR, BBBR and B treatments and 500 plant ha−1 for rubber in all treatments. Growth analysis commenced at 8 months after planting (MAP) and at the onset of the experiment, rubber plants were four months old. Density had significant effects on both leaf area index (LAI) and total dry matter (TDM) of the stand, with the highest values in the most dense BBBR treatment. TDM, leaf area and dry matter partitioning to above-ground components of banana were significantly greater in the BBR and BBBR treatments than in the BR crop. Dry matter productivity and the crop performance ratio (CPR) of rubber also increased with planting density. Plant weight of rubber showed similar relations with both stem girth and height measurements, with improved performance in the intercrop relative to sole crop treatments. Treatments had little affect on bunch yield per banana plant, harvested percentage and CPR, with mean values of 6.2 kg, 65.3% and 0.95, respectively. Since yield per plant was similar across treatments, yield per hectare increased significantly with increasing banana density. Amongst intercrops, the highest density BBBR treatment always performed best in terms of both stand parameters and performance of individual component crops. It was concluded that increasing the density of banana, from a single to three rows, increased biomass productivity per unit area, with no adverse effect on the growth and yield of either component rubber or banana crops.
Rodrigo, V.H.L.; Stirling, C.M.; Teklehaimanot, Z.; Nugawela, A. The effect of planting density on growth and development of component crops in rubber/banana intercropping systems. Field Crops Research (1997) 52 (1-2) 95-108. [DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4290(96)01069-6]