Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Organic apple orchard floor maintenance techniques

08.09.2009
Mulching, flaming and 'Swiss sandwich' techniques analyzed

Successful organic apple farming literally starts from the ground up.

Maintaining a healthy orchard floor is the key to preventing weeds and keeping soil healthy. Logically, finding effective methods to increase production and marketability of organic apples is critically important to growers who have to deal with pests and disease without the use of conventional tools available to nonorganic growers.

Dario Stefanelli of Michigan State University's Department of Horticulture led a study to evaluate three types of rootstocks of 'Pacific Gala' apples. Published in HortScience, the study compared three methods of orchard floor maintenance.

The first was an alfalfa hay mulch treatment, applied by hand in the spring and fall, to prevent weed growth and maintain soil moisture. Drawbacks of this method include the expense, maintenance, risk of rodent damage, possible nutrient leaching, and incubation of some weed species.

The second treatment was a flame burning technique in which a propane burner was used to heat the weeds under the tree canopy. The cost of this method was low, however the risks of fire, branch injury, and damage to plastic irrigation systems increased.

The third method is known as the Swiss sandwich system, which leaves a strip of vegetation to grow naturally in the tree row with two shallow tilled strips on each side. The grassy strip offers insects a space to live without bothering the trees and acts as ground cover, which improves soil condition and adds nutrients. The tilled strips help to reduce competition for water and nutrients. And, because there is no need to mow, this method is easy to maintain. However, this method, without additional fertilization, resulted in less suitable growing conditions.

No differences were noted between rootstocks with the alfalfa hay mulch treatment, though it did improve the appearance of the trees. It also created the most favorable soil conditions for growing 'Pacific Gala' trees. Trees on the Supporter 4 rootstock had the highest growth values, while there were no significant differences between the other two rootstocks. Rootstock was not a factor in crop levels of mulch-treated trees. The M.9 RN 29 rootstock was the most productive using the Swiss sandwich system and the flame treatments. The other two rootstocks' results were the same for both systems.

According to Stefanelli, the results suggest "M.9 RN 29 and the low-cost [Swiss sandwich system] are the most suitable combination that should be considered by growers who want to plant 'Pacific Gala' under organic protocols in Michigan and related climatic regions."

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS Hortscience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/44/2/263

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application.

Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ashs.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>