Use of de-oiled pomace as a tool for weed control in olive orchards.
Five methods of weed control have been compared in a two-year experimental orchard at the Bari University
Recent olive cultivation in Mediterranean Countries is characterised by the strong diffusion of high-density cropping systems and by the most environmentally conscious management regarding all the agronomic practices and the waste disposal as well.
The Bari Univerity research has investigated the possibility of the use of De-Oiled Pomace (DOP) as a eco-friendly tool for weed control in a high-density olive orchard providing an environmental comparison with other soil management techniques. Five methods of weed control have been compared in a two-year experimental orchard at the Bari University (Southern Italy): mulching with de-oiled olive pomace (DOP), nonwoven tissue (TNT) and polyethylene film (PEN), chemical (CHI) and mechanical (MEC) weeding, on the three most adapted to high-density orchards olive cultivars (Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki). The data collected during the experimental test are submitted to an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) analysis and five scenarios have been drafted based on DOP use and destinations.
The results showed that the chemical wedding produced the greatest environmental burdens, and the higher environmental performances of DOP mulching scenarios for all environmental indexes, with burdens reductions and/or environmental credits. The presence in the following years of some biomarkers sensitive to macro and micro pollutants and heavy metals, in experimental plots mulched with DOP, confirmed the high environmental sustainability of this technique, excluding any kind of soil pollution in the medium-term period in the high-density olive orchard.
Giovanni Russo, Gaetano A. Vivaldi, Bernardo De Gennaro, Salvatore Camposeo, Environmental sustainability of different soil management techniques in a high-density olive orchard, Journal of Cleaner Production, Available online 3 July 2014, ISSN 0959-6526