183 Influence of Cover Crops on Weed Control and Plant Growth in Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.)

in HortScience

Fall-planted cover crops killed in spring is practiced in strawberry cultivation in different regions of the North America. These systems have shown significant weed suppression and conservation of soil without significant yield reduction in strawberry. During the establishment season, this study was initiated to assess weed suppression with cover crops (`Wheeler' rye and `Micah' and `Steptoe' barley) along with perlite, an artificial plant medium. Strawberry (`Selva' and `Totem') plant growth and weed biomass were measured during 1995-96 season. Small-seeded summer annual weeds were suppressed in cover crop treatments compared to control treatment. `Micah' barley in growth phase suppressed more than 81% of the total weed biomass compared to control plots with no cover crop in early spring. However, in early summer, cover crop residues failed to suppress different types of weeds 60 days after killing of cereal with herbicide (2% glyphosate). Distinct differences in strawberry plant growth were evident between the cover crop treatments and non-cover crop treatments including `Micah' applied on surface. Strawberry growth was doubled during 10 July to 15 Aug. in both cultivars. `Micah' barley applied on surface produced better growth in both strawberry varieties than the growth in other treatments. `Micah' barley applied on soil surface produced 50% more strawberry shoot biomass may indicate the root competition between cover crops and strawberry.

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