Ground cover management is the manipulation of vegetation ground cover within the orchard to maximize its benefits while minimizing its drawbacks. There are many benefits to be gained by managing the ground cover in orchards, including more rapid tree growth, earlier bearing, greater response to fertilizers, reduced tree stress during periods of dry weather, increased fruit size and yield, reduced potential for mouse injury, erosion and insulating against deep cold (frost) penetration. While total ground cover control will eliminate competition for water and nutrients, it does, however, have its drawbacks with regards to erosion, dust, frost penetration and equipment mobility during periods of wet soil conditions.
Orchard grass cover can be managed in few ways:
- Managing space between rows - soil between rows can be processed and used for growing of sub- crops, e.g. vegetables, legumes, short duration and dwarf fruit crops. It can be also grassed for green fertilization (grass is plowed into the soil) and permanently grassed. The way in which the space between the rows will be used depends upon climate conditions, planting space, terrain slope, soil type and precipitation amount.
- Managing space between plants, which can be done mechanically (if permanent soil tillage is included), biologically (regular grass mowing) or chemically (herbicides for grass and broadleaf weeds). Weed control in managed orchards requires special attention to preventing weed problems before they start.
Each management practice/tool has some advantages and disadvantages, as you can see in the table below.
Tracking of Orchard Maintenance in Agrivi System
Grass cover maintenance requires some human and machinery work, which you can record in Agrivi farm management system.
Under a crop production of certain fruit crop, you can enter all work hours of workers and machinery used in that activity. Each time when someone mows grass or spray with herbicides in the orchard, his work can be entered into that task, as well as a consumption of herbicide.
All work hours and pesticides spent on that activity you can analyze by only one click in Agrivi dashboards and print out in the form of reports. Weeds in ground cover compete directly with the trees for needed water and nutrients during the growing season. High weed pressure can even stunt tree growth and also significantly reduce fruit size and yield per tree.
Therefore, weed management is important in crop production, as well as tracking of your farm activities with Agrivi system.