An analysis of the growth of leaf area of oil palms in Indonesia

W. Gerritsma, F.X. Soebagyo

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In two cultivar × density trials for oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) planted in Indonesia, single leaf area, number of green leaves per tree, leaf opening rate per year and rachis length of leaves were followed over fourteen years. The data were analysed to determine the time course of canopy leaf area and to predict the moment of canopy closure. Growth functions were fitted to the observed data. Estimates of leaf area index (L) were based on single leaf area, number of green leaves, leaf opening and planting density. The time course of L was modelled on the basis of the fitted functions to the components. The moment of canopy closure was calculated from the planting density and the functions fitted for rachis length. The modelled time course of L was considerably different from the function fitted to the single leaf area data. The expansion of L was not as rapid as expected from the area growth of single leaves and, after maximum L was reached, a steady decline was observed. The continuously declining number of green leaves was the main cause of these two observations. The time course of L differed considerably between the two experiments. Not only were there large differences in the number of green leaves maintained per tree in the experiments but also the final area of single leaves differed between both experiments. The first factor was a result of the management of the experiments, whereas the second factor was most likely influenced by a difference in soil-related factors at the two locations. Leaf areas and numbers of leaves per tree were different for each cultivar, as was L. This was also the parameter most sensitive to planting density. Individual leaf area and leaf number per tree were not affected by planting density, but rachis length was affected by the planting density treatment. The moment of canopy closure was similar in both experiments. Planting density was the main factor that determined the onset of canopy closure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-308
JournalExperimental Agriculture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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