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Yield-density responses in monocultures and mixtures of Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Beets (Beta vulgaris L.)

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Title: Yield-density responses in monocultures and mixtures of Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Beets (Beta vulgaris L.)
Author: Mchaina, Grace Masala
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Plant Science
Copyright Date: 1991
Subject Keywords Plant interference
Abstract: Interference among neighbouring plants, often due to competition for limited resources, is central to subjects such as yield-density relationships, intercropping, self-thinning in dense plant stands and low reproductive yield in certain crops. An experiment was conducted to investigate plant interference in associated populations of beans {Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and beets [Beta vulgaris L.). Plants of the two species were grown at different total densities and at different mixture proportions in a randomized complete block design. Several analytical procedures were used to interpret and define treatment effects. The analysis of variance indicated that yield was significantly reduced with either increasing total population density or increasing bean proportions in mixtures. The interactions of total population density and mixture proportions were only occasionally significant. Parameters of non-linear models used to define yield-density relationships indicated that beans were the superior competitor, both against themselves and against beets. The model parameters were also used to determine differential yield responses on total dry weight, leaf dry weight, leaf number and leaf area in the bean-beet mixtures. Yield advantage was observed in leaf dry weight and leaf number when model parameters were used in calculating land equivalent ratios whereas total dry weight and leaf area showed yield disadvantage. Using observed values to calculate land equivalent ratios indicated yield advantage in all four variables. Plant size inequalities, as determined by the Gini coefficient tended to decrease in beet monocultures with increasing population density. In monocultures of beans and in the bean-beet mixtures, plant size distribution was not systematically changed by density and mixture treatments. Yield component analysis indicated that the variation in total yield due, to either population density or mixture treatments increased with age; the variation due to the population density by mixture proportions Interaction remained relatively constant throughout the growing season. Leaf number per plant was the yield component which was most frequently a significant source of yield variation both in the forward and backward yield component analysis. Plant growth analysis indicated that leaf area ratio and specific leaf weight were higher at higher population densities and at higher bean proportions. Harvest index decreased with increasing population density and with increasing proportions of the competing species in beets. Absolute growth, relative growth and unit leaf rates increased with time and declined after reaching a peak at about 68 days after planting. Both the lowest population density of 16 plants m ̄² and the mixture treatment with the least proportion of beans had the greatest increase in absolute growth, relative growth and unit leaf rates. Allometric relationships between total plant dry weight and any secondary measure per plant were influenced in different ways by density and mixture treatments and by time of harvest. The composition of models also varied considerably. The interpretation of plant interference, therefore is strongly influenced by the choice of plant characteristics which are measured, and by the time of measurement.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/31038
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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