Effects of Cover Crop Treatments on Apple Trees

Ground cover management systems affect soil quality and health and thereby orchard growth and productivity.  There have been few studies in the southern US on the effects of managed drive-rows using cover crops as part of a sustainable apple orchard management system.  A field study used treatments of 1) seasonal legumes (cowpea [Vigna unguiculata] and crimson clover [Trifolium incarnatum]),  2) seasonal grasses (millet [Setaria italic] and annual rye [Lolium multiflorum]), or 3) unmanaged natural vegetation drive row plantings, with mowed vegetation blown into the tree row as mulch (mow/blow) nested variable.

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