Managing growth and competition of a perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) living mulch in a vegetable cropping system Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/z890rw866

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  • Vegetable production with a living mulch may reduce soil erosion and compaction, increase organic matter levels, and decrease the requirement for chemical inputs. Competition between the vegetable and mulch, however, has limited the development of successful living mulch systems to realize these benefits. In a field study, interference between pak choi (Brassica campestris L.) and a living mulch of 'Manhattan II' perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) managed with mechanical, chemical, or no supression was investigated. In growth chamber and field studies, the effect of management on ryegrass dry matter production and allocation was studied by growth analysis of individual plants. Results of the interference study suggest pak choi can be interplanted with ryegrass seeded at rates of up to 45 kg/ha. In a mixture of pak choi thinned to 36,000 plants/ha and ryegrass seeded at a rate of 90 kg/ha, the ryegrass competed and pak choi yield was reduced 24%. Mowing twice or applying fluazifop-p-butyl ((±)-2-[4-[[5--trifluoroinethyl)-2-pyridinyl]oxy]phenoxy]propanoic acid) reduced ryegrass dry weight, but did not affect competition with the pak choi. In the growth analysis experiments, one application of fluazifop-p-butyl or withholding nitrogen altered dry matter allocation between roots and shoots and reduced dry matter production of the ryegrass. Shoot yield was affected more than root yield. Mowing subtly altered growth and did not consistently reduce grass dry weight. Studying vegetable yield reductions in living mulch systems as competitive interactions and characterizing managed mulch growth with growth analysis may provide some insight into the competitive interactions. With greater insight into the competitive process, successful mulch management strategies may be efficiently developed.
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