Alley cropping refers to the planting of multiple lines of single or double rows of trees or shrubs (alley tree lines) within which crops can be grown (alleys).
How it Works
Alley cropping is a commonly used agroforestry technique due to the benefits it provides in terms of soil fertility. By intentionally planting nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs in rows surrounding crops, alley cropping provides additional nutrients to the soil. In addition, the trees and shrubs planted will provide an abundance of nutrient-rich leaves and stems that can be chopped and dropped onto the crops as additional green fertilizer to promote a healthy, more vigorous growth. While the main purpose of the alleys is to provide soil fertility and fertilizer, the networks of root systems in the alleys help reduce wind and water erosion by stabilizing the soil. The trees and shrubs selected for alley cropping can also provide additional benefits like fruit, nuts, dry forages, and wood.