Friday, April 19, 2024
Home Farming Tips Use Cover Crops To Manage Weeds

Use Cover Crops To Manage Weeds

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Managing weeds, without resorting to expensive and harmful chemicals is a challenge to farmers. Using cover crops is one way farmers can suppress weeds, while at the same time maintaining soil fertility.

Mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) is a leguminous crop that has proved very effective in suppressing weeds in plantation crops such as banana, cocoa, coffee and oil palm trees. It provides forage for feeding livestock, while enriching the soil.

As a cover crop, Mucuna will help improve soil texture, suppress weeds, boost soil fertility, preserve moisture, help to reduce labour costs, make the garden look more attractive, control bush fires, wind, water erosion and help repel destructive animals like monkeys.

Currently, Mucuna is being used extensively by oil palm growers in Kalangala to fight weeds, control soil erosion and keep the soils fertile.

Besides being cost effective, oil palm out growers in Kalangala have found it appropriate for their conditions and are also using it to feed their animals.

Mucuna is especially favoured on soils with low fertility and where weeds are difficult to control. Mucuna increases and provides quick ground cover to protect against soil erosion and weeds.

This legume suppresses weeds, thus cutting down the operation cost. It also increases water infiltration and reduce both rill and inter-rill erosion.

Mucuna fixes nitrogen and produces plant (organic) matter for improving soil fertility. The thick, deep taproot can break up compacted soil layers and scavenge nitrate from deeper soil layers.

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