Weeds are one of the most important problems in newly established orchards. Especially in organic orcharding, the importance of weed management is much more than conventional orcharding. Therefore, importance of alternative methods to chemical control of weeds is increasing. This study was conducted to quantify the effects of common vetch (Vicia sativaL.) as living mulch on weeds and evaluate the availability of common vetch in organic citrus production. The study was carried out in Mandarin orchard which was established specially for this research in research and implementation area of the Plant Protection Department of Çukurova University in Turkey, in a three-year-period. Living mulch and control plots were placed between rows in newly established mandarin orchard and plots were maintained at the same locations until the end of the experiment. In this study, effects of the living mulch application on density, cover proportion, biomass, dry weight and similarity index of weed species were investigated. Overall three-years results of the study were evaluated, living mulch application reduced weed density and cover proportion average of 42.8% and 45.9% respectively compare to control. Biomass and dry weight of weeds were also reduced by living mulch in all years of the experiment. The results indicate that living mulch application by common vetch is an important alternative weed suppression method for ecological weed management.
Key words: Alternative control, cover crop, ecological agriculture, mandarin, mulch, weed management.
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