Living grass mulches in strawberry cultivation
Polli Horticultural Research Centre of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciencesof Estonian University of Life Sciences, Polli, 69108, Viljandimaa, Estonia;e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Strawberries grow best on soils with high organic matter content and high fertility levels. Green manure crops were used successfully as a substitute for farm manure. Another opportunity to increase organic matter content of soil is to grow groundcover crops, for example grass species, between strawberry rows. Proper management can reduce weeds, erosion on slopes, soil compaction, dust and mud. Potential disadvantages of using cover crops between rows include the consumption of nitrogen and other nutrients as well as water. The aim of this research was to elucidate the impact of various living mulches on plant vegetative growth and yield of cv. ‘Bounty’. Different living mulches were evaluated at the Polli Horticultural Research Centre during 2001–2003. The following living mulches were compared: natural grass cover, red fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, timothy, orchardgrass, and white clover.