The diversity of weed species occurring in living mulch in an apple orchard

Maria Licznar-Małańczuk


In a study conducted at the Research Station of the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, weed occurrence in living mulches maintained in apple tree rows of ‘Pinova’ cv. was assessed during the first seven years after sowing. The trees were planted in spring 2004 (3.5 × 1.2 m). In the same year, living mulches: colonial bent grass, white clover and French marigold, were sown into 1 m wide tree rows. Blue fescue, the only perennial cover crop with herbicide application against dicot weeds once in the second year after sowing, was introduced in the second year after planting the trees to replace dwarf nasturtium which was sown in the year of orchard establishment. In the inter-row spaces, perennial grass was maintained.

During the first seven years, variation in weeds was observed depending on living mulch. Multi-species weed infestation persisted throughout the study period only in the case of annually resown French marigold. Perennial living mulches were significantly suppressed the annual weeds. Significant suppression of Taraxacum officinale Web. was found where the soil surface was covered by perennial grass sod in more than ¾. The maintenance of blue fescue resulted in significantly lower average soil coverage by Elymus repens (L.) Gould; the growth of this weed significantly contributed to the reduction of white clover sod and French marigold plants.


apple tree; cover crop; weedy orchard; Elymus repens; Taraxacum officinale

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