Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Cover crops in Victorian apple orchards: effects on production, natural enemies and pests across a season

Published source details

Bone N.J., Thomson L.J., Ridland P.M., Cole P. & Hoffmann A.A. (2009) Cover crops in Victorian apple orchards: effects on production, natural enemies and pests across a season. Crop Protection, 28, 675-683


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Allow natural regeneration of ground cover beneath perennial crops Natural Pest Control

A replicated, randomised, controlled study in south-eastern Australia (Bone et al. 2009) found that numbers of parasitoid (Hymenoptera), lacewing (Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae) and ladybird (Coccinellidae) natural enemies  were similar in apple tree Malus domestica canopies over naturally regenerated and commercial grass ground covers. Damage caused by the majority of pests and diseases was similar between treatments (including apple dimpling bug and russett) but damage by Helicoverpa was significantly less for apples with naturally regenerated ground cover (causing 1% of the damage to apples) than with grass mix (5%) at one site. Apple diameter and weight were similar (73-75 mm diameter, 165-188 g) for apple trees in both treatments. Treatments were applied at three sites (two included the regeneration treatment but all three received the grass mix) and in plots of 265-288 m² replicated four times. Naturally regenerating species included a mix of flowering plants and grasses.