EVALUATION OF WEED AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN ORGANIC PEAR ORCHARDS
In 2009 and 2010, four weed control treatments (in-row mowing, landscape fabric, wood chips, and organic herbicide) and three fertilizer treatments (chicken manure at high vs. low rate and feather meal) were compared in an organic, no-till Bosc pear (Pyrus communis) orchard with solid-set sprinklers. Weed control in the landscape fabric and wood chip treatments was excellent, and multiple herbicide applications per year resulted in partial control. There were no significant yield differences among treatments, and little difference in fruit diameter or weight. There were no significant differences in trunk growth between treatments. The wood chip treatment had significantly lower stem water potential than other treatments in August 2009 only. In both years, the N content of leaves in mow + no fertilizer was significantly lower than most high-rate manure treatments, and leaf P content followed the opposite trend. Wood chips and fabric tended to have fewer vole holes than in-row mowing, and the herbicide treatment was intermediate. Assuming that landscape fabric lasts 8 years, it is only slightly more expensive per year than in-row mowing alone. An organic herbicide program is more expensive because of the herbicide cost and the many applications required. Wood chips were by far the most expensive treatment because of the cost of chips and spreading them, as well as the need to reapply every year. The use of a low rate of chicken manure was the cheapest fertilization strategy. Doubling that rate doubled the total costs, whereas the use of feather meal was about three times the cost of low-rate manure application for an equivalent amount of N.
Ingels, C.A., Lanini, W.T., Shackel, K.A., Klonsky, K.M., Demoura, R. and Elkins, R.B. (2011). EVALUATION OF WEED AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN ORGANIC PEAR ORCHARDS. Acta Hortic. 909, 571-578
mowing, herbicide, wood chips, landscape fabric, fertilizer, manure, feather meal