No single organic weed control option works particularly well alone to control weeds in apple orchards during establishment. But strategies combining techniques do work well, particularly using wood chip mulches with organic herbicides.
That’s the message Greg Peck, Assistant Professor in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section told Growing Produce in a June 1 article, Organic Weed Control Strategies for Apple Growers.
Peck’s advice is based on a four-year study with former graduate student Kate Brown. They compared cultivated, mulched and untreated plots in combination with two organic herbicides, mowing and untreated controls.
“Peck says cultivation and mulch, when used alone, are not sufficient to control weeds, but when stacked with an herbicide, they perform adequately. He suggests using mulch plus herbicide in the early establishment years (1-4) and switching to cultivation in later years.”
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