|Authors: ||J. Hoeberechts, S. Nicola, E. Fontana|
|Keywords: ||Aromatic plants, weed control, marginal lands, polyethylene, polypropylene|
Weed control is a serious problem in the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) because most are not successfully competitive with noxious plants.
The aims of the project were to verify the possibility of growing lavender (Lavandula officinalis) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in a profitable way in the Sacra Valley (northwestern Italy); to control weeds by mulching, comparing this technique to an undisturbed situation (control), and to analyze the durability of different black mulches used (polyethylene, transpiring, draining types). Experiments in the field started on 31 May 2001, transplanting plants arranged in a grid spaced 0.6 x 0.6 m in a loamy soil, provided with an overhead irrigation system of sprinklers.
Experiments consisted of 2 species by 4 mulch treatments by 4 blocks.
Periodical measurements of canopy height and diameter, and flowered branch counting were taken to study plant growth.
Weeds were identified and their development in the treatments was assessed in terms of density and covering.
In the control plots, both lavender and rosemary suffered weed invasion.
Plants grown with polyethylene and transpiring mulch increased canopy height and width more than plants grown with the other treatments.
From the beginning, the draining mulch was perforated by some weed species (Setaria viridis and Echinochloa crus-galli), which covered about 50 % of the mulch at the end of the growing season.
Results indicated that the best mulches to cultivate lavender and rosemary were polyethylene and transpiring types.
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