Effects of organic mulches on soil microfauna in the root zone of apple: implications for nutrient fluxes and functional diversity of the soil food web

  • Published source details Forge T.A., Hogue E, Neilsen G & Neilsen D (2003) Effects of organic mulches on soil microfauna in the root zone of apple: implications for nutrient fluxes and functional diversity of the soil food web. Applied Soil Ecology, 22, 39-54.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add mulch to crops

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Add mulch to crops

    A controlled, randomized, replicated experiment in 1994-2000 on gravelly-sandy loam in British Columbia, Canada (Forge et al. 2003) found that soil nematode and protozoan diversity was higher under mulches of shredded paper (56 Shannon diversity index) and shredded paper combined with municipal compost (54 Shannon diversity index), relative to the unmulched control (45 Shannon diversity index). Soil nematode diversity was reduced under mulches of municipal biosolids (solid processed sewage sludge) and alfalfa Medicago sativa hay compared to the control. Spartan apple Malus domestica trees were established in rows in 1994, and seven treatments were applied between rows: control (conventional management), municipal biosolids, shredded office paper, shredded office paper over municipal biosolids, shredded office paper over a composted mixture of biosolids and garden waste, alfalfa hay and black polypropylene mulch. Soil samples for nematode and protozoan community analyses were taken from each plot in October 1998, June 1999 and October 2000.


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