Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2020)
Mulching improves weeds management, soil carbon and productivity of spring planted maize (Zea mays L.)
Author(s): Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Ather Nadeem, Ahsan Aziz, Muhammad Ehsan Safdar, Muhammad Adnan, Amjed Ali, Naeem Ullah, Naeem Akhtar, Basharat Abbas
Abstract: Weeds and low soil organic matter contents significantly reduced maize yield. Chemical control of weeds creates environmental hazards and residual effects in crops and soil. Weed management through mulches is suitable alternative to chemical weed control. A trial was planned to ascertain the influence of mulches on carbon contents of soil, weeds dynamics and productivity of maize. Experimental treatments were comprised of control (weedy check), manual hoeing, plastic mulch, rice straw mulch, saw dust mulch and wheat straw mulch @ 4 tons ha-1 each. Results showed that all mulching treatments significantly affected weed growth, soil carbon and yield components of maize. Application of plastic and wheat straw mulch increased 30.76 and 26.06% plant height, 7.16 and 3.41% grains per cob, 33.13 and 14.57% grain yield, 19.0 and 9.29% biological yield, 3.29 and 4.84% harvest index respectively over weedy check (control). Maximum soil organic matter and carbon contents were observed in wheat straw mulch. Lowest weeds density and dry weight was observed in manual hoeing, transparent mulch and rice straw mulch, respectively. Results suggested that application of wheat straw mulch not only increase yield, soil organic matter contents but also improve yield of maize.