Back
 AS  Vol.3 No.4 , July 2012
Feasibility of using polypropylene ground cover upon consideration of long-term responses of sweet cherry nutrition and profitability
Abstract: The impacts of synthetic polypropylene ground cover in the row area of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) trees (‘Regina’/’Gisela 6’) on soil nutrient availability, tree mineral nutrition and productivity, and economic returns were investigated on a Van Horn fine sandy loam soil at Hood River OR, from 2000 to 2007. Treatments included 2.44-m wide synthetic fabric ground cover made of black, woven poly-propylene over the row area of cherry trees (woven fabric), and no ground cover but with herbicide applications in the row area with the same width as the polypropylene ground cover (herbicide strip) – standard industry practice. This article reports the plant nutrition and soil fertility results of 2006 and 2007 and profitability and feasibility results of 2000 to 2007. Tree leaf nitrogen (N) concentrations were significantly higher with 9 to 14% increases using woven fabric compared with herbicide strip in 2006 and 2007. However, leaf sulfur (S) concentrations were significantly lowered with woven fabric in the two seasons. Woven fabric resulted in fruit with comparable quality and possible greater storability under enhanced fruit yields than herbicide strip in both years. Woven fabric was more profitable than herbicide strip based on an additional net present value of $2,606 ha-1 by the end of this study. Woven fabric had annual gross returns greater than annual costs in the fourth year after planting by $8,181 ha-1 relative to herbicide strip, and had cumulative net returns greater than total costs of all previous years in the sixth year after planting by $17,796 ha-1 over herbicide strip. However, to establish a sweet cherry orchard with woven fabric, the grower would spend an additional $4,332 ha-1 over herbicide strip. In conclusion, woven fabric is a profitable and sustainable in-row ground management alternative to herbicide strip for orchards from a long-term perspective.
Cite this paper: Yin, X. and Seavert, C. (2012) Feasibility of using polypropylene ground cover upon consideration of long-term responses of sweet cherry nutrition and profitability. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 594-601. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.34072.
References

[1]   Geldart, H.G. (1994) The impact of replant problems on the economics of high density apple plantings. Acta Horticulturae, 363, 11-18.

[2]   Derr, J.F. (2001) Biological assessment of herbicide use in apple production. II. Estimated impacts following loss of specific herbicides. HortTechnology, 111, 20-25.

[3]   Johnson, D.S. and Samuelson, T.J. (1990) Short-term effects of changes in soil management and nitrogen fertileizer application on ‘Bramley’s Seedling’ apple trees: II. Effects on mineral composition and storage quality of fruit. The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, 65, 495-502.

[4]   Stevenson, D.S. and Neilsen, G.H. (1990) Nitrogen additions and losses to drainage in orchard type irrigated lysimeters. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 70, 11-19. doi:10.4141/cjss90-002

[5]   Merwin, I.A., Ray, J.A., Steenhuis, T.S. and Boll, J. (1996) Ground cover management systems influence fungicide and nitrate-N concentrations in leachate and runoff from a New York apple orchard. Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science, 121, 249-257.

[6]   Shribbs, J.M. and Skroch, W.A. (1986) Influence of 12 ground cover systems on young ‘Smoothee Golden Delicious’ apple trees: I. Growth. Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science, 111, 525-528.

[7]   Parker, M.L. and Hull, J. (1993) Orchard floor management affects cherry tree growth and moisture utilization. Acta Horticulturae, 343, 201-213.

[8]   Elmore, C.L., Merwin, I. and Cudney, D. (1997) Weed management in tree fruit, nuts, citrus and vine crops. In: McGiffen, M.E., Ed., Weed Management in Horticultural Crops, ASHS Press, Alexandria, 17-29.

[9]   Glover, J.D., Reganold, J.P. and Andrews, P.K. (1999) Systematic method for rating soil quality of conventional, organic, and integrated apple orchards in Washington State. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 80, 29-45. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(00)00131-6

[10]   M?ge, F. (1982) Black plastic mulching, compared to other orchard soil management methods. Scientia Horticulturae (Amsterdam), 16, 131-136.

[11]   Lipecki, J. and Berbec, S. (1997) Soil management in perennial crops: orchards and hop gardens. Soil and Tillage Research, 43, 169-184. doi:10.1016/S0167-1987(97)00039-1

[12]   Neilsen, G.H., Hogue, E.J., Forge, T. and Neilsen, D. (2003) Mulches and biosolids affect vigor, yield, and leaf nutrition of fertigated high density apple. HortScience, 38, 41-45.

[13]   Stojanowska, J. (1994) Influence of mulching with perforated black foil on growth and bearing of cherry trees. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research, 2, 1-7.

[14]   Neilsen, G.H., Hogue, E.J., Forge, T. and Neilsen, D. (2003) Surface application of mulches and biosolids affect orchard soil properties after 7 years. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 83, 131-137. doi:10.4141/S02-034

[15]   Mehlich, A. (1984) Mehlich 3 soil test extractant: A modification of Mehlich 2. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 15, 1409-1416. doi:10.1080/00103628409367568

[16]   Khan, S.A., Mulvaney, R.L. and Hoeft, R.G. (2001) A simple soil test for detecting sites that are nonresponsive to nitrogen fertilization. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 65, 1751-1760. doi:10.2136/sssaj2001.1751

[17]   Gavlak, R.G., Horneck, D.A. and Miller, R.O. (1994) Plant, soil and water reference methods for the western region. University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

[18]   Watson, M.E. and Brown, J.R. (1998) pH and lime requirement. In: Brown, J.R., Ed., Recommended Chemical Soil Test Procedures for the North Central Region. NCR Research Publication, Columbia, 13-16.

[19]   Combs, S.M. and Nathan, M.V. (1998) Soil organic matter. In: J.R., Brown, Ed., Recommended Chemical Soil Test Procedures for the North Central Region. NCR Research Publication, Columbia, 53-58.

[20]   Oregon State University Extension Service. (2007) 2007 Wasco County sweet cherry production results. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/wasco/horticulture/Orchard%20Economics/documents/2007Productionrevised.pdf

[21]   Seavert, C.F., Hinman, H. and Teegerstrom, T. (2008) Agriculture’s profitability tool (AgProfit?) http://agtools.org

[22]   Yin, X.H., Seavert, C.F., Nú?ez-Elisea, R., Turner, J. and Cahn, H. (2007) Effects of polypropylene groundcover on soil nutrient availability, sweet cherry nutrition, and cash costs and returns. HortSciecne, 42, 147-151.

[23]   Leece, D.R. (1975) Diagnostic leaf analysis for stone fruit. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture and Ani- mal Husbandry, 15, 118-122. doi:10.1071/EA9750118

[24]   Victoria State Department of Primary Industries (1995) Orchard nutrition 2: Soil and leaf analysis. Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne.

[25]   Nú?ez-Elisea, R., Cahn, H., Caldeira, L., and Seavert, C.F. (2005) Polypropylene row covers greatly enhance growth and production of fourth-leaf sweet cherry trees. Hort- Science, 40, 1129.

[26]   Thompson, J. (2006) Fruit physiological disorders: Stone fruit. http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Produce/Disorders/stone/stonesurface.shtml

[27]   Patten, K.D., Patterson, M.E. and Kupferman, E. (2007) Reducing surface pitting in sweet cherries. http://postharvest.tfrec.wsu.edu/pgDisplay.php?article=N1I2C

 
 
Top