Effect of Sustainable Ground Floor Management Systems on Root System Dynamics of Apple and their Contribution to Carbon Sequestration and Nutrient Cycling in the Soil

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2003: $9,977.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: apples


  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis

    Proposal abstract:

    The evaluation of three ground-floor management systems for organic apple orchards suggests that the Swiss Sandwich System (SSS) is promising for Michigan and other states that have a similar climate. Mulching (alfalfa hay) increases significantly the amount of available nitrogen and organic matter in the soil compared with the other two systems. Flaming and SSS release similar amounts of nitrogen. Mulching actually releases too much nitrogen - risking leaching problems. The management systems affect the soil food web. Mulching and SSS create comparable environments, while flaming yields the lowest populations of soil organisms.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objectives for this project are to:

    * Investigate the behavior of apple tree fine roots (timing and rate of growth, and their turnover) subjected to two different ground-floor management systems under the organic protocol.

    * Determine the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil by the trees.

    * Study the effects of fine root turnover on nutrient cycling, food-web and soil sustainability.

    * Introduce the best ground-floor management system for the desired growing conditions.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.