Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long-term Study Of Orchard Ground Cover Management Systems

Date:
February 26, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
The most widely used orchard groundcover management system (GMS) in North America and Europe consists of Herbicide-treated tree rows with mowed grass "drive lanes." In response to environmental concerns, scientists have tested different types of cover crops and mulches, particularly biomass. Although root systems play an important role in tree growth and development, little is known about differential GMS effects on orchard root growth and distribution.

Rhizotron tubes used to examine underground root development in orchard study.
Credit: Photo by Ian A. Merwin

Orchard floor and groundcover management is important to fruit growers, affecting the efficiency of orchard operations, fruit tree performance, and soil quality.

Herbicide-treated tree rows with mowed grass "drive lanes" are the most widely used orchard groundcover management systems (GMS) in North America and Europe; the system is widely considered to be the most efficient and least expensive GMS.

Due to increased concerns about the environmental impact of herbicides and mechanical soil tillage, alternative methods are being sought to suppress orchard weeds and maintain soil quality. In response to environmental concerns, scientists have tested different types of cover crops and mulches, particularly biomass, inorganic, and geotextile mulch. Although root systems play an important role in tree growth and development, little is known about differential GMS effects on orchard root growth and distribution.

Researchers Shengrui Yao (University of Minnesota) and Ian A. Merwin and Michael G. Brown (Cornell University) coauthored a study that compared apple root density and distribution, root turnover, and root lifespan of trees after 10 years under different GMS treatments. The study was published in the journal HortScience.

The experiment involved the use of two minirhizotrons, or root observation tubes, installed on both sides of one tree in three replicates for each GMS treatment. Roots were observed by camera at two or three weekly intervals during the growing seasons of 2002 and 2003, and from whole tree excavations in 2000.

Minirhizotrons were used to study root emergence, turnover, and depth distribution of apple rootstocks under four groundcover management systems: pre-emergence herbicide, post-emergence herbicide, mowed sod grass, and hardwood bark mulch. All systems had been maintained since 1992 in an orchard near Ithaca, New York. Tree growth, yield, nutrient uptake, retention and leaching, soil moisture content, and soil temperature data were collected annually throughout the study.

The researchers discovered substantial differences among the GMS treatments. For instance, tree growth and yield observations from 1992 to 2003 showed that the hardwood bark mulch and post-emergence herbicide treatments produced more tree growth and higher yields than other treatments during most years. The mowed sod grass treatment usually had the smallest trees and lowest yields. Pre-emergence treatment trees had more total roots and new roots than all other treatments, and trees in mowed sod grass plots had fewer total roots than others.

Explaining the impact of the study, Merwin observed; "This study provides information on the relationship between orchard GMS' and tree root demography and dynamics, about which little has been reported previously. GMS treatments affected root growth, turnover, and distribution at this orchard, and these differences were linked with long-term trends in tree growth and fruit production in this research."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yao, Shengrui, Merwin, Ian A., Brown, Michael G. Apple Root Growth, Turnover, and Distribution Under Different Orchard Groundcover Management Systems. HortScience, 2009 44: 168-175 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Long-term Study Of Orchard Ground Cover Management Systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226160755.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, February 26). Long-term Study Of Orchard Ground Cover Management Systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226160755.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Long-term Study Of Orchard Ground Cover Management Systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226160755.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins