Mia, M.J.; Massetani, F.; Murri, G.; Facchi, J.; Monaci, E.; Amadio, L.; Neri, D. Integrated Weed Management in High Density Fruit Orchards. Agronomy2020, 10, 1492.
Mia, M.J.; Massetani, F.; Murri, G.; Facchi, J.; Monaci, E.; Amadio, L.; Neri, D. Integrated Weed Management in High Density Fruit Orchards. Agronomy 2020, 10, 1492.
Despite the productivity, achieving long-term sustainability and maintaining plant biodiversity become the pivotal goals in orchard floor management, especially along tree rows. Thus, the paradigm of eradicating weeds in the tree row using chemical herbicide or repeated soil tillage needs to be substituted with more sustainable alternatives. This study was conducted in two commercial apple and peach orchards in Marche region (Italy). Two integrated mechanical approaches, integrated mowing (mower + brush or disc) and integrated tillage (blade weeder + integrated mowing), were compared with standard herbicide system in a 2-years trial. Weed species abundance, soil coverage rate, and weed biomass productions, including gas exchange parameters, tree growth, fruit yield and quality were measured. Both integrated practices had significant effects on the number of weed species, total vegetation coverage, and dry weed biomass production. No significant differences were found in terms of tree gas exchange parameters, growth and fruit yield. However, a few fruit quality parameters such as fruit firmness, solid soluble content and dry matter content responded positively to the integrated practices. These results suggest that the integrated mechanical approaches of weed management increased orchard biodiversity, and they had no adverse effects on tree growth, fruit yield, and quality.
weed management; integrated tillage; integrated mowing; herbicide; biodiversity and fruit production
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