Influence of row covers on soil loss and plant growth in white cabbage cultivation

https://doi.org/10.17221/407/2014-PSECitation:Übelhör A., Gruber S., Schlayer M., Claupein W. (2014): Influence of row covers on soil loss and plant growth in white cabbage cultivation. Plant Soil Environ., 60: 407-412.
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Row covers are usually used to protect plants from insects and cold temperatures, and to accelerate plant growth. But they could also serve as an erosion control strategy. For this reason, fleece (FC) and net covers (NC) in white cabbage (Brassica oleracea convar. capitata (L.) Alef. var. capitata L. f. alba) cultivation were tested in a two-year field experiment to determine effects on soil erosion, plant growth and plant diseases. Soil loss under FC was reduced on average by 76% and under NC by 48% compared to the non-covered control treatment (CO). Soil temperature did not differ significantly in either of the experimental years between the treatments and ranged from 17.2–18.2°C in 2012 and from 18.7–18.9°C in 2013. Soil moisture content, air temperature and relative humidity were always highest under FC, followed by NC and CO. Leaf area index was also highest under FC across all sampling dates. The fresh matter head yield under FC and NC was significantly higher (80 t/ha) compared to CO (66 t/ha) in 2012. An opposite result was detected in 2013, with the highest yield in CO (64 t/ha) and lowest under FC (53 t/ha). Overall, for moderate climate conditions, the row covers seem to be beneficial as a suitable erosion control strategy.
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