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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Pre-Plant Winter Cover Crops for Weed Suppression in a Low-Input Strawberry Production System

item Black, Brent
item Enns, John

Submitted to: International Society for Horticultural Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The advanced matted row (AMR) strawberry production system utilizes the residue of a winter cover crop to suppress weeds during the establishment year. A combination of Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa), Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum) and Rye (Secale cereale) is used as a winter cover. Over the past three years, we have tested 18 alternative cover crops for compatibility with the AMR production system. Candidate cover crops were fall-planted in replicated plots. In April, each plot was divided into non-herbicide treated and glyphosate-treated sub-plots. Two weeks after herbicide application, all sub-plots were mowed, and 'Allstar' strawberry plants were placed through the resulting crop residue. Cover crops were compared to the vetch-clover-rye combination for: germination, establishment, weed suppression, and compatibility with strawberry growth. Most cover crops tested had inconsistent stand establishment and/or poor weed suppression. In all of the herbicide treated sub-plots, either the cover crop was not affected by glyphosate, or there was little weed suppression by the crop residue. In the non-herbicide sub-plots, Creeping Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra), Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis), Red Top (Agrostis alba), and Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea 'Kentucky 31') all showed good weed suppression, but also inhibited growth and establishment of the strawberry plants. Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and Little Barley (Hordeum possilum) show the most promise, as weed growth was inhibited but strawberry growth continued. The effects of these cover crops on subsequent strawberry fruit yield will be discussed.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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