Study

Effect of cover crops and mulches on weed control and nitrogen fertilization in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)

  • Published source details Campiglia E., Mancinelli R., Radicetti E. & Caporali F. (2010) Effect of cover crops and mulches on weed control and nitrogen fertilization in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Crop Protection, 29, 354-363

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Crop production: Grow cover crops in arable fields

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland

Pest regulation: Grow cover crops in arable fields

Action Link
Mediterranean Farmland
  1. Crop production: Grow cover crops in arable fields

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1999–2001 in two irrigated tomato fields in central Italy found that winter cover crops had inconsistent effects on crop yields, which varied with the species of cover crop. Crop yield: Higher tomato yields were found in plots with mulched cover crops, compared to plots without cover crops or mulch, for three of four cover crops (86–100 vs 78 t/ha), but lower tomato yields were found for one of four cover crops (oats: 66 vs 78 t/ha). Crop quality: Tomato quality was similar with or without cover crops and mulch (pH 5.1–5.6, 4.3–4.9 cm diameter tomatoes). Implementation options: The highest yields were found in plots that were cover cropped and mulched with hairy vetch (100 t/ha, 181 fruits/m2) and the lowest yields were found in plots that were cover cropped and mulched with oats (66 t/ha, 129 fruits/m2). Methods: In September–May, cover crops were grown on 12 treatment plots, but not on three control plots, which were weeded with a disk cultivator (6 x 9 m plots). Cover crops were mown in May and used as mulch (6 cm depth, 80 cm width). All plots were irrigated and fertilized (100 kg P2O5/ha in September, 0–100 kg N/ha in June–July). Tomato seedlings were transplanted in May and harvested in August. It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of growing cover crops or mulching.

     

  2. Pest regulation: Grow cover crops in arable fields

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1999–2001 in two irrigated tomato fields in central Italy found that winter cover crops had inconsistent effects on weeds. Pest numbers: In spring, fewer weeds were found in plots with winter cover crops, compared to bare soil in winter, in six of 16 comparisons (10–55 vs 62–82 weeds/m2; 2–10 vs 12–50 g weeds/m2), but more weeds were found in one of sixteen comparisons (70 vs 50 g weeds/m2). Implementation options: The fewest weeds were found in plots that had been cover cropped with Avena sativa oats (10–21 weeds/m2; 2–10 g weeds/m2), and the most were found in plots that had been cover cropped with Vicia villosa hairy vetch (57–73 weeds/m2; 13–70 g weeds/m2). Methods: In September–May, cover crops were grown on 12 treatment plots, but not on three control plots, which were weeded with a disk cultivator (6 x 9 m plots). Cover crops were mown in May. All plots were irrigated and fertilized (100 kg P2O5/ha in September, 0–100 kg N/ha in June–July). Tomato seedlings were transplanted in May, and weeds were sampled 15 and 30 days later, between the tomato rows.

     

Output references

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