Optimum Weed Control Method Increases the Yield of Kinnow by Improving the Physical Properties of Soil
ABSTRACT: Going towards sustainable fruit culture, it is very important that soil fertility should maintain by adopting the proper weeds control and adding the organic matter. This research was carried out to identify the most suitable weed control method for Kinnow orchard. The plants of Kinnow at the age of 6 years grown under drip irrigation were selected. Weeds of orchard were managed by mulching (wood chip and black polyethylene), mechanical (cultivator and rotavator) and chemical (glyphosate) methods. Mechanical weed control was taken as control treatment. The plants where wood chip mulching was used for weed control showed maximum increase in shoot length (24.00 cm), chlorophyll contents (84.00 SPAD value) and yield (11.88 ton ha-1) followed by the plants where weeds were controlled with chemical control while lowest shoot length (12.00 and 12.33 cm), chlorophyll contents (41.00 and 42.67 SPAD value) and yield (3.80 and 4.70 ton) was achieved in cultivator and rotavator treatment respectively. Wood chip mulch also improved soil physical properties by reducing bulk density (1.49 Mg m-3), soil penetration resistance (785.33 kPa) and by enhancing soil organic matter (1.17%), hydraulic conductivity (34.50 mm/hr-1) and soil microbial biomass carbon (159.68 g kg-1) followed by glyphosate control while lowest values of soil physical properties were obtained in cultivator and rotavator weed control. Wood chip mulch also reduced weed dry weight (45.25 g) and efficiently controlled weeds (95.66%) as compared to other weed control methods. In this case, wood chip mulch performed better in all studied parameters than plastic mulch, rotavator, cultivator and glyphosate weed control. So, wood chip mulch should be recommended to citrus grower for improving soil physical properties and yield.