Evaluation Of Organic And Inorganic Mulching As An Integrated Weed Management Strategy In Maize Under Rainfed Conditions
ABSTRACT: Weeds affect crop growth, health and yield by competing for resources, and they serve as refuge for insect pests. Mulches of different materials have been found to control weeds and insect pests. A field study was conducted at the village of Mang, Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, to explore the effect of various mulch materials on weed suppression in maize fields under rain-fed conditions in 2013. Eight mulch materials treatments were used: control (no mulching), wheat straw mulch, dry leaves of eucalyptus, rice straw mulch, grass clippings, living mulch (soybean crop), black plastic mulch and the herbicide Primextra were investigated under a randomized complete block design with four replications. Statistical analysis of data showed maximum reduction in weed density, relative weed density, fresh biomass and dry biomass in all the test species at 25, 50 and 75 days after sowing (DAS) where Primextra and black plastic mulch were used, and this was statistically similar to where rice straw and wheat straw were used. Maximum weed density, relative weed density, fresh and dry biomass of all weed species were recorded where soybean was intercropped with maize and grass clippings were used. Based on these results, it was inferred that the mulch material of eucalyptus and rice straw can effectively be used for controlling weeds in maize fields under rain-fed conditions.