Submitted to: Annual Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Synthetic herbicides often are used to control weeds that cause yield loss and contribute to insect pests and diseases in orchards. Alternative weed management may be required due to negative public perception and possible regulatory restriction of some synthetic herbicides and to the increase of organic management practices. Organic wastes, such as poultry litter and sawdust, may be available locally and could be used as mulches to suppress weeds in orchards. I report three experiments that used these organic wastes as mulch to suppress weeds. Additional weed control, trimming or a natural product herbicide, eugenol, were used in conjunction with the mulch. Results demonstrated that mulch effectiveness increased with depth, particularly at depths above 3 cm. Mulch can be as effective as residual herbicides for annual weed control, but mulch provided only partial control of perennial weeds. Trimming and eugenol provided additional control of weeds that grew through the mulch. However, where perennial weeds were prevalent, additional weed management such as systemic herbicides may be needed to manage weeds.