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  • Author or Editor: William B. McCloskey x
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Several orchard floor management strategies were evaluated beginning in Fall 1993 in a `Limoneira 8A Lisbon' lemon (Citrus limon) grove on the Yuma Mesa in Yuma, Ariz. and in a `Valencia' orange (Citrus sinensis) grove at the University of Arizona Citrus Agricultural Center, Waddell, Ariz. At Yuma, disking provided acceptable weed control except underneath the tree canopies where bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus), and other weed species survived. Mowing the orchard floor suppressed broadleaf weed species allowing the spread of grasses, primarily bermudagrass. Preemergence (norflurazon and oryzalin) and postemergence (glyphosate and sethoxydim) herbicides were used to control weeds in the clean culture treatment in Yuma. After three harvest seasons (1994-95 through 1996-97), the cumulative yield of the clean culture treatment was 385 kg (848.8 lb) per tree, which was significantly greater than the 332 kg (731.9 lb) and 320 kg (705.5 lb) per tree harvested in the disking and mowing treatments, respectively. In addition, the clean culture treatment had a significantly greater percentage of fruit in the 115 and larger size category at the first harvest of the 1995-96 season than either the disk or mow treatments. At Waddell, the management strategies compared were clean culture (at this location only postemergence herbicides were used), mowing of resident weeds with a vegetation-free strip in the tree row, and a `Salina' strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum) cover crop with a vegetation-free strip. The cumulative 3-year yield (1994-95 through 1996-97) of the clean culture treatment was 131 kg (288.8 lb) per tree, which was significantly greater then the 110 kg (242.5 lb) per tree yield of the mowed resident weed treatment. The yield of the strawberry clover treatment, 115 kg (253.5 lb) of oranges per tree, was not significantly different from the other two treatments. The presence of cover crops or weeds on the orchard floor was found to have beneficial effects on soil nitrogen and soil organic matter content, but no effect on orange leaf nutrient content. The decrease in yield in the disked or mowed resident weed treatments compared to the clean culture treatment in both locations was attributed to competition for water.

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