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Selection of pasture species for groundcover suited to shade in mature macadamia orchards in subtropical Australia

Firth, D.J., Jones, R. M., McFadyen, L.M., Cook, B. G. and Whalley, R.D.B. (2002) Selection of pasture species for groundcover suited to shade in mature macadamia orchards in subtropical Australia. Tropical Grasslands, 36 (1). pp. 1-12. ISSN 0049-4763


Article Link: https://www.tropicalgrasslands.info/public/journal...


Soil erosion is a significant problem in subtropical macadamia orchards in Australia, especially when groundcover vegetation is shaded out under older orchards. The aim of this study was to identify suitable low-growing, perennial groundcovers that would persist in the low light conditions under mature macadamias. Twenty-six legume and grass accessions and 1 herb were evaluated in small plots in a 16-year-old commercial orchard near Lismore, NSW. Plant density, groundcover (%), herbage mass, sward canopy height and groundcover spread were determined in high, medium and low light in the interrow for 2 years (1996–97). Groundcover was also measured for 3 years, on 19 of the accessions in a younger orchard at another site.
Dactyloctenium australe provided the best groundcover in both high and low light and met most other specifications for an ideal groundcover for macadamias. Other promising grass species included Paspalum mandiocanum, Panicum laxum and Microlaena stipoides cv. Wakefield. However, Paspalum mandiocanum has been cited as having potential weediness in subtropical Australia, and is not recommended as a groundcover for macadamias. The legumes generally did not perform as well in low light as grass species. However, Arachis pintoi cv. Amarillo and a sterile Arachis pintoi × Arachis repens hybrid provided highest percent groundcover in high and medium light. Further assessment of these species in larger plots to determine their establishment and persistence under heavy orchard traffic and suitability for mechanical harvest operations has commenced.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soil conservation and protection
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Nuts
Live Archive:18 Jan 2024 00:58
Last Modified:18 Jan 2024 00:58

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