The weed composition in an orchard as a result of long-term foliar herbicide application

Maria Licznar-Małańczuk, Iwona Sygutowska


The weed composition and the dominance of individual species occurring in an orchard were assessed at the Research Station of the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland, during the first 10 years after orchard establishment. ‘Ligol’ apple trees were planted in the spring of 2004 (3.5 × 1.2 m). Foliar herbicides were applied in 1 m wide tree rows twice or three times per each vegetation period. In the inter-row spaces, perennial grass was maintained.

Ten years of maintenance of herbicide fallow contributed to a change in the weed composition in the orchard. It changed as a result of different responses of the most important weed species to the foliar herbicides. Total suppression of Elymus repens was observed in the first year after planting the trees. Convolvulus arvensis, Cirsium arvense, and other perennial weeds, completely disappeared in the succeeding periods. The maintenance of herbicide fallow did not affect the abundance of Taraxacum officinale. The percentage of the soil surface covered by Trifolium repens and Epilobium adenocaulon, perennial weeds with considerable tolerance to post-emergence herbicides, increased during the fruit-bearing period of the trees. The abundance of these weeds was significantly reduced only in the rows with the stronger growing trees on the semi-dwarf P 2 rootstock. Stellaria media was the dominant annual weed. Senecio vulgaris, Poa annua, Capsella bursa-pastoris, and Lamium spp. were also frequently observed. A significant increase in the abundance of annual and perennial weeds was found in the tree rows as a result of improved water availability after a period of high precipitation.


apple tree; rootstock; weed; herbicide fallow; glyphosate

Full Text:



Gomaa NH. Composition and diversity of weed communities in Al-Jouf Province, northern Saudi Arabia. Saudi J Biol Sci. 2012;19:369–376.

Lipecki J. Chwasty dominujące w sadach świata – praca przeglądowa. In: XX Spotkanie Zespołu Herbologicznego Komitetu Nauk Ogrodniczych PAN; 2005 Jun; Warszawa–Olsztyn, Poland. Warszawa: Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie, Komitet Nauk Ogrodniczych Polskiej Akademii Nauk; 2005. p. 36–41.

Lipecki J. Weeds in orchards – pros and contras. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research. 2006;14(3 suppl):13–18.

Lisek J. Synanthropic orchard flora in west Mazovia – central Poland. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research. 2012;20(2):71–83.

Mika A. The importance of biodiversity in natural environment and in fruit plantations. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research. 2004;12:11–21.

Lipecki J. Orchard weeds in Lublin region twenty years on – preliminary report. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research. 2004;12:105–111.

Zawieja J, Wojciechowski W, Gudarowska E. Zróżnicowanie chwastów w różnych typach sadów jabłoniowych. Ekologia i Technika. 2011;19(3a):194–199.

Licznar-Małańczuk M. Zastosowanie żywych ściółek w sadzie jako alternatywnego sposobu pielęgnacji gleby w porównaniu z ugorem herbicydowym. Wrocław: Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy; 2012.

Licznar-Małańczuk M. The diversity of weed species occurring in living mulch in an apple orchard. Acta Agrobot. 2014;67(1):47-54.

Atucha A, Merwin IA, Brown MG. Long-term effects of four groundcover management systems in an apple orchard. HortScience. 2011;46(8):1176–1183.

Lisek J. Possibilities and limitations of weed management in fruit crops of the temperate climate zone. J Plant Prot Res. 2014;54(4):318–326.

Tasseva V. Species composition of weed vegetation in different apple growing technologies. Not Bot Horti Agrobot Cluj Napoca. 2005;33:59–64.

Miñarro, M. Weed communities in apple orchards under organic and conventional fertilization and tree-row management. Crop Prot. 2012;39:89−96.

Harrington KC, Hartley MJ, Rahman A, James TK. Long term ground cover options for apple orchards. N Z Plant Prot. 2005;58:164−168.

Petit S, Boursault A, le Guilloux M, Munier-Jolain N, Reboud X. Weeds in agricultural landscapes. A review. Agron Sustain Dev. 2011;31:309−317.

Granatstein D, Wiman M, Kirby E, Mullinix K. Sustainability trade-offs in organic orchard floor management. Acta Hortic. 2010;873:115−121.

Andersen L, Kühn BF, Bertelsen M, Bruus M, Larsen SE, Strandberg M. Alternatives to herbicides in an apple orchard, effects on yield, earthworms and plant diversity. Agric Ecosyst Environ. 2013;172:1–5.

Lipecki J, Janisz A. Effects of method of soil management on orchard weed occurrence and distribution. Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities. 1999;2(2):01.

Lipecki J, Janisz A. Rozmieszczenie przestrzenne oraz zmiany w występowaniu niektórych gatunków chwastów w sadzie jabłoniowym Gospodarstwa Doświadczalnego Felin koło Lublina. Acta Agrobot. 2000;53(2):85–104.

Adamczewski K, Kierzek R, Matysiak K. Przymiotno kanadyjskie (Conyza canadensis L.) odporne na glifosat. Progress in Plant Protection. 2011;51(4):1675–1682.

Mortensen DA, Bastiaans L, Sattin M. The role of ecology in the development of weed management systems: an outlook. Weed Res. 2000;40(1):49–62.

Silva PSL, Barbosa Z, Oliveira OF, Antonio RP, Silva PIB. Floristic composition and growth of weeds under custard apple (Annona squamosa) progenies. Planta Daninha. 2004;22(4):529–537.

Jezova M, Hanzl J, Winkler J. Evaluation of the occurrence of weeds in orchard. In: Polák O, Cerkal R, Škarpa P, editors. Proceedings of the International PhD Students Conference MendelNet; 2014 Nov 19–20; Brno, Czech Republic. Brno: Mendel University in Brno; 2014. p. 45–49.

Badowska-Czubik T, Broniarek-Niemiec A, Bryk H, Jaworska K, Lisek J, Łabanowska BH, et al. Program ochrony roślin sadowniczych 2015. Kraków: Hotpress; 2015.

Erhardt W, Götz E, Bödeker N, Seybold S. Der große Zander Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen 2: Arten und Sorten. Stuttgart: Ulmer KG; 2008.

Kitis YE, Koloren O, Uygur FN. Evaluation of common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) as a living mulch for ecological weed control in citrus orchards. Afr J Agric Res. 2011;6(5):1257–1264. http://dx.doi.ogr/10.5897/AJAR11.009

Lisek J. Skuteczność zwalczania wierzbownicy gruczołowatej (Epilobium adenocaulon) i innych chwastów przez glifosat i MCP stosowanych z adiuwantem AS 500 SL w sadzie jabłoniowym. Zeszyty Naukowe Instytutu Sadownictwa i Kwiaciarstwa w Skierniewicach. 2012;20:13–20.

Webster T. Dwarfing rootstocks: past, present and future. The Compact Fruit Tree. 2002;35(3):67–72.

Lehoczky È, Németh T, Reisinger P, Radimszky L, Kömíves T. Effect of weediness on the water content of the soil: a field study. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal. 2006;37:2673−2678.

Steinmaus S, Elmore CL, Smith RJ, Donaldson D, Weber EA, Roncoroni JA, et al. Mulched cover crops as an alternative to conventional weed management systems vineyards. Weed Res. 2008;48:273–281.


Journal ISSN:
  • 2300-357X (online)
  • 0065-0951 (print; ceased since 2016)
This is an Open Access journal, which distributes its content under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, provided that the content is properly cited.
The journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and aims to follow the COPE’s principles.
The journal publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.
The journal content is indexed in Similarity Check, the Crossref initiative to prevent scholarly and professional plagiarism.
Polish Botanical Society