Sustainable alternatives to chemicals for weed control in the orchard – a Review M.J., Massetani F., Murri G., Neri D. (2020): Sustainable alternatives to chemicals for weed control in the orchard – a Review . Hort. Sci. (Prague), 47: 1-12.
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This review is designed to address various alternative weed-control practices and their possibilities in the fruit orchard in terms of sustainability. Correct weed management and maintenance of adequate orchard biodiversity are crucial for sustainable orchard soil management. The key is to practice an alternative weed-management approach (single or integrated) rather than to use possibly harmful chemicals only. Integration of modern equipment with a shallow tillage system can provide effective weed control in tree rows, including optimised tree performance and soil biodiversity. Living mulch suppresses weeds and enhances orchard biodiversity, while selection of less competitive and less pest-attracting species is crucial. Plastic covers offer long-term weed control, but additional nutrient amendments are required to maintain the balanced fertility of the soil. Wood chip mulch is suggested where the materials are available on or near the farm, and where there is lower incidence of perennial weeds. High pressure water and robotic systems are still in their infancy for fruit orchards, and required more research to confirm their efficiency.

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