Date of Award
Master of Science
Plots of F. xananassa had greater macroaggregate mass than the cultivated-bare soil plots in 1997, but there were no differences among treatments in 1998. The fastest water infiltration rates occurred in plots of S. sudanense (2.1 [Mu]M/s) and T. erecta (2.4 [Mu]M/s) and in cultivated-bare soil (2.0 [Mu]M/s). When data are grouped by type of vegetation, trends show that perennial strawberry and native perennial vegetation provide good conditions for the maintenance of soil quality. Cover crops of native perennial vegetation have the potential to be used in rotation with strawberry and may provide a sustainable alternative to chemical herbicides and maintain soil quality.Lolium perenne L. and Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf. are the traditional cover crops used in rotation with strawberry (Fragatia xananassa Duch.) in the Midwest to suppress weeds and improve soil quality. The objective of this study was to investigate how cover crops affect weed populations and soil physical and chemical properties when used in rotation with strawberry. The experiment was established in 1996 at the Iowa State University Horticulture Station, Ames, Iowa. Treatments were cover crops of Rudbeckia hirta L., Panicum virgatum L., Sorghastrum avenaceum (Michx.) Nash, Andropogon gerardii Vitm., Tagetes erecta L. 'Crackerjack', L. perenne, S. sudanense, F. xananassa Duch. 'Honeoye', and cultivated-bare soil. Weed cover percentage was determined visually. Soil quality was determined by measuring macroaggregate mass (aggregate stability), bulk density, water infiltration, percentage organic carbon, total nitrogen, and pH. Use of cover crops reduced weed populations in plots of cultivated-bare soil (4%), S. sudanense (13%), and P. virgatum (15%). Plots of L. perenne had 100% weed cover in 1997 and 1998, with Setaria faberii Herrm. being the dominant weed species in those plots.
Jillene Rae Summers
Summers, Jillene Rae, "Cover crops reduce weeds and maintain soil quality for sustainable strawberry" (1999). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 17482.