Multifunctional living mulches for weeds control in organic apple orchards

Joanna Golian

National Institute of Horticultural Research

Zbigniew Anyszka

National Institute of Horticultural Research, Poland

Joanna Kwiatkowska

National Institute of Horticultural Research, Poland


A trial assessing the suitability of multifunctional living mulch to maintain the soil and reduce weed infestation was carried out in an organic apple orchard in the years of 2019-2020. Perennial plants (Alchemilla vulgaris, Fragaria vesca, Mentha piperita) and annual crops (Tropaeolum majus and Cucurbita maxima) were grown in the in the rows of the apple trees. The weeds number and soil weeds coverage in tree rows were assessed. Regardless of the living mulch species utilized, the soil resulted to be mostly covered by perennial weed species such as: Equisetum arvense and Taraxacum officinale and annual species such as: Lamium purpureum, Stellaria media, Galinsoga parviflora, Capsella bursa-pastoris and Poa annua, which were the most common species also for the natural cover used as control. However, all living mulch species limited weed infestation and M. piperita, F. vesca  and T. majus most strongly limited weeds growth. It is concluded that living mulch species can be a feasible practice to manage the soil on the tree rows in organic orchards.


agroecology, apple trees, living mulch, weeds

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Joanna Golian 
National Institute of Horticultural Research
Zbigniew Anyszka 
National Institute of Horticultural Research, Poland
Joanna Kwiatkowska 
National Institute of Horticultural Research, Poland


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