Agronomic cover crop management supports weed suppression and competition in California orchards

Nov 14, 2022

Ben Faber (UCCE Advisor in Ventura County) shared the following article with me--thanks Ben.

 

Agronomic cover crop management supports weed suppression and competition in California orchards

Steve Haring and Brad Hanson (UC Davis)

 

Abstract

Cover crops enhance the biodiversity of cropping systems and can support a variety of useful ecosystem services, including weed suppression. In California orchards, cover crops are typically implemented as annual plants that can replace resident vegetation in orchard alleyways during the rainy winter season. Our research objective was to evaluate cover crop management factors that support a competitive, weed-suppressing cover crop in the unique orchard systems of central California. We conducted two experiments: an experiment evaluating cover crop management intensification in walnuts (Juglans regia L.) and an experiment evaluating multispecies cover crop mixes and planting date in almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb]. These experiments demonstrate that timely cover crop planting is important for producing an abundant cover crop, and a variety of cover crop management programs can produce weed-suppressing cover crops. However, cover crops do not result in weed-free orchards and should be considered within the context of integrated management programs. The apparent flexibility of orchard cover crop management provides an opportunity to promote other agroecosystem services, with vegetation management and weed suppression as complementary management goals.

 

To read more of the article, visit https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/weed-science/article/agronomic-cover-crop-management-supports-weed-suppression-and-competition-in-california-orchards/172DBE623EFFDDA958D3B91C1EEBFD29

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 September 2022

 


By Gale Perez
Posted by - Program Representative