The influence of organic mulches on soil properties and crop yield
Lithuanian University of Agriculture,Studentų 11 Akademija, LT-53356 Kaunas distr. Lithuania;e-mail: email@example.com
The application of organic mulches as a soil cover is effective in improving the quality of soil and increasing crop yield, especially in organic farming. The field experiment was carried out in the Pomological Garden of Lithuanian University of Agriculture in 2005–2008. The soil type – Calc(ar)i- Endohypogleyic Luvisol. Treatments: 1) without mulching; 2) chopped wheat straw; 3) peat; 4) sawdust; 5) grass.The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of different mulches on soilproperties and crop yield.All examined organic mulches significantly decreased soil temperature. Mulched plotsalso had higher soil moisture content throughout the experimental period. The highest soil moisture content was in plots mulched with peat or sawdust. The tendency of a higher amount of available phosphorus in the soil in mulched plots in 2005–2006 was established. The positive effect of grass mulch on available potassium in the soil was estimated.Mulching decreased weed density. During all years of the experiment significantly highercrop yields were obtained in grass-mulched plots. Peat mulch significantly decreased weed number although it has a significant negative effect on crop yield.