Over the last few years, UC Davis Weed Science has been testing cover crops for weed suppression in nut orchards. The most recent project we've been working on has trialed several cover crop programs using cereal rye in walnut orchards. These cover crop programs represent a range of several management philosophies, from a basic, low-input program to a high-intensity forage intercrop. So far, we are finding that a variety of winter cover crop programs can provide some level of winter weed suppression, but cover crops are not (and may never be) a complete vegetation management solution for the orchard floor.
Weed scientists have been thinking a lot more about cover crops recently. Because of renewed concerns about...
New to cover crops? What alternatives are there and how does one figure out what might work in your special situation? Well, be one of the first to test out a new software program developed by Shulamit Shroder, our Climate Smart Specialist in Kern County. She would love to get feed back on how it works and can be improved.
How many different cover crops can you count in this photo?
- Author: Lindsay M. Jordan
Capitalizing on a wet winter, many cover crops established very well in San Joaquin Valley vineyards this year– it has not been uncommon to see stands of barley, mustard, and other species grow taller than 3 feet in vineyard interrows. A robust cover crop planting can offer many benefits to your vineyard site. Winter cereals can break up compaction with their fibrous root systems and legumes can fix nitrogen and contribute to vine nutrition. All cover crop plant species can be used to protect the soil surface from erosion and crusting, improve water infiltration, and provide structure-building organic matter to the soil when mowed or cultivated.
However, it has not only been intentionally seeded cover crops that took...
- Author: Oleg Daugovish
Plasticulture tunnels are the norm for several multimillion dollar crops such as raspberries and flowers. They are not permanent structures and are don't have to comply with the standard runoff regulations for impervious surfaces, but water running off the plastic surely ends up in post rows that become water channels. These post rows are constantly wet and are great for growing weeds.
Growers with tunnels still need to comply with agricultural runoff regulations and try to manage the weeds, which can be challenging due to limited availability of effective herbicides and significant ‘organic' production (that translates to hand-weeding).
In a pilot study we looked at what would $10-15/acre worth of barley or...
- Author: Lynn M. Sosnoskie
- Author: Stanley Culpepper
- Author: Ted Webster
Cover crops have been/are being used as organic mulches in crop production systems in order to increase soil organic matter, improve soil structure, conserve water and reduce erosion. Cover crops can also suppress weeds by serving as a physical barrier to seedling emergence, inhibiting seed germination via reduced light transmittance, through the release of allelopathic chemicals, and by preventing herbicide loss.
Attached is a video from the University of Georgia describing how to mange and roll rye (not ryegrass) for Palmer amaranth control in a cotton conservation-tillage system. Although much of the information (i.e. herbicide recommendations) may seem specific to the eastern coastal plain, the clip does provide a...