ALTERNATIVE GROUNDCOVER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AFFECT ORCHARD SOIL FERTILITY AND APPLE LEAF NUTRIENT CONTENT.

in HortScience

Eight groundcover management systems (GMS) have been evaluated since 1986 in an apple orchard replant site. Tree-row GMS have included post-emergence herbicide (glyphosate) “killed sods,” pre-emergence herbicide (norflurazon + diuron) strips, a crownvetch “living mulch,” hay-straw mulch, monthly cultivation, a close-mowed sod, and an unmowed, chemically growth-regulated (maleic hydrazide + 2,4-D) sodgrass. Soil organ&matter content, surface aggregate structure, and water infiltration have improved under vegetative groundcovers relative to herbicide treatments. Extractable soil N, K, P and B have increased under straw mulch. Except for K, foliar nutrient content (dry wt basis) has not been closely coupled with soil nutrient content. Leaf K, P and B contents have increased, while leaf N, Mg and Zn, have decreased in trees in sodgrass relative to herbicide GMS.

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