ISSN: 1659-2751



Effect of Three Species of Cover Crops on Weed Control in an Organic Banana (Musa AAA cv. Williams) Plantation


This work was carried out in order to explore alternatives to use cover crops to control weeds at an organic banana plantation at EARTH University. Three types of cover crops were evaluated in a randomized complete block design to determine their effectiveness on weed control. The species studied were Geophila macropoda, Desmodium ovalifolium and Pilea sp. All cover crops suppressed weeds to some extent compared to the control (no cover crop). Desmodium ovalifolium showed the lowest weed coverage (2.3 % of soil surface with weeds), while Pilea sp. G. macropoda and the control had 45 %, 43 % and 91 % of ground covered with weeds, respectively. Also, D. ovalifolium had the greatest biomass (3111 kg/ha of dry matter). Banana foliar nutrient levels were not affected by the presence of the cover crops. On the contrary, there was a tendency to increase the levels of foliar N in the banana plant, being 2.11 % in the case of D. ovalifolium compared to 1.95 %, 1.93 % and 1.83 % in G. macropoda, Pilea sp. and the control, respectively. Additionally, there were no significant differences in soil nutrient levels measured until 300 days after cover crop planting. In addition, other biometric variables such as the number of nematodes in the roots did not show differences between treatments.

Key words: banana, cover crop, competition, weed control, organic.

Artículo en español (pdf) (1559)