Ground cover

If you find
Weeds establish on bare ground
Nature fills any vacuum
When you reduce your use of chemicals, you will most likely have no reliable fallbacks, so your management system must work and must be integrated
Out of season storms are a key extreme, particularly summer storms in winter rainfall areas. These storms cause severe erosion because of the volume of rain and because the ground cover is often lacking at this time of year. In many areas, they are likely to increase in frequency and intensity with global climate change.
Full ground cover is a key tactic in reducing weed problems. A crop seldom uses all the nutrients, moisture and light available to it. As a result there are opportunities for other plants, that often turn out to be weeds.

Weeds often establish on bare ground because they are adapted to it better than most crop and pasture plants are. Weeds can establish where they weren’t before because there is a gap in the ground cover and Nature fills any vacuum.

Unfortunately, nature will not fill it with a crop plant nor a pasture plant. Nature will however fill it with whatever lands there on the wind and is able to survive there. As far as any farmer is concerned that is most likely to be a weed.

When plants cover every scrap of ground from one boundary to the other throughout the year, they guard every bit of the soil from weed invasion. Whenever there is a gap for part of the year in just a small area, weeds can take that spot.

The trick is to maintain full ground cover of living plants year round if you can. If you can’t cover all the ground with actively-growing plants, at least have plants that are taking up space in the ground and dormant until the new season and new growth starts.

And if you can’t do that because of conditions, at least maintain a good coverage of Litter to get all of its protective benefits as well as any potential Allelopathy to suppress germination and/or growth.

Weeds (particularly annuals) often prefer to establish on bare ground. If your ground won’t have live plants on it, can you at least have leaf and stem litter?

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