Mechanical removal

30 Sep, 19 | Olive Grove Management

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The mechanical removal is the system used above all in organic olive groves. The necessary weeding is done to keep herbaceous plants at a minimum. In this system very high levels of organic matter is maintained in the soil; there is a high rate of infiltration, and very low erosion.

However, competition from weeds is never completely eliminated, so this does significantly affect production in comparison to other soil management systems that use herbicides or tilling. What also occurs is that the soil becomes compacted from the repeated use of the weeding tractor, which reduces infiltration.

Normally there is also a certain switch of flora type, with a shift from upright plants to creeping plants and rosette plants, which are hard to eliminate by physical removal, which means that plant competition does not end after clearing the land.

The better the water supply is the better this system works, which would be the case for farms that have good rainfall or use irrigation.

Applying fertilizers and other additives has a very unreliable effect, because the weeds are the first to benefit from the additives, growing faster and demanding more water, so this can be counterproductive. For these cases, it is recommended to apply the majority of nutrients through the leaves, or by fertigation if it's underground. This system is used for wide range systems.

The cost for soil management is very low. Depending on the number of livestock, weed control will be more or less effective.

The advantages of this system are basically the same as for physical removal, except that the switch in flora is not so much to creeping plants, but instead to plants that are not as tasty for the livestock.

The main disadvantage here is that the livestock will graze around the olive trees so the production of low branches will be lost.

Having a good herd of livestock in spring until the weeds are controlled, and using above all foliar treatments for fertilizer is not a bad management strategy.


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