IRRIGATION AND RYE LIVING-MULCH EFFECTS ON MICHIGAN ASPARAGUS

D. Brainard
In response to declines in yield and stand longevity, Michigan asparagus growers are experimenting with multiple cultural practices including irrigation, shallow tillage, and “living-mulches” sown immediately following harvest in late June. Drought stress may play an important role in limiting fern growth and increasing fern susceptibility to pests. Living mulches are thought to reduce soil degradation and suppress weeds, but may also suppress asparagus through competition for water. Research was initiated in Hart, Michigan, USA, in 2008 with the following long-term objectives: 1) to evaluate the effects of irrigation on asparagus yields and weed management under two cropping systems; and 2) to determine the effects of cereal rye (Secale cereal) living-mulch on soil moisture, weed growth, and asparagus yield. In a research farm field experiment, 4 treatments were examined: 1) no-till with standard herbicides; 2) no-till with standard herbicides plus irrigation; 3) shallow-tillage with rye living-mulch; 4) shallow tillage with rye living-mulch plus irrigation. Irrigation increased weed density and weed dry weight but had no detectable effect on asparagus yields. Rye living mulch 1) reduced soil volumetric water content by approximately 2-3% at 60 cm; 2) suppressed weeds compared to weedy control treatments, but resulted in increased weed density and dry weight compared to conventional herbicide treatments; and 3) had no detectable effect on asparagus yield.
Brainard, D. (2012). IRRIGATION AND RYE LIVING-MULCH EFFECTS ON MICHIGAN ASPARAGUS . Acta Hortic. 950, 53-58
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.950.4
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.950.4
cover crops, weed management, drought stress, tillage
English

Acta Horticulturae