Cover cropping for increasing fruit production and farming sustainability Chapter uri icon


  • Weeds are a chronic phytosanitary problem appearing every year in any cultivated field. They must be kept under control since they compete for resources with cultivated species. In spite of several tools that have been developed to deal with weeds in cultivated fields, their control is still one of the most important tasks the farmers face. In fact, in fruit growing, if man ceases its care, the ground is firstly invaded by grass, followed by shrubby and arboreal vegetation in an ecological succession that leads to the failure of the cultivated trees. The competition is mainly for water and nutrients, although in young plantations and in some shrubby and creeping species, competition for light may also occur. In fruit growing, the need to eliminate or keep under control herbaceous vegetation is not only due to the reduction of direct competition with the trees. The vegetation can hinder the trafficability of equipment and people and several ordinary operations, such as pruning, phytosanitary treatments, and harvesting. Additionally, the herbaceous vegetation can harbor pests and diseases that may require more phytosanitary treatments increasing monetary and environmental cost. It can also be emphasized that weeds make a property appear neglected reflecting on the competence of the grower. Nowadays, however, major benefits are recognized of herbaceous vegetation. Not only the reduction of soil erosion but also carbon sequestration in the soil with increased organic matter and enhanced general soil fertility has been highlighted.

publication date

  • 2020