a comparison between spruce bark and cocoa husk mulches
To suppress weeds in an apple (Malus sp.) orchard, we placed spruce (Picea spp.) bark mulch and cocoa (Theobroma cacao) husk mulch for 3 months in thicknesses of 0, 2.5, 5, 10 and 15 cm. To assess the development of weed cover, an innovative use of log-logistic dose–response models was applied, with mulch thickness as the independent variable. Weed cover was measured by non-destructive image analysis by estimating the relationship between the number of green pixels and the total number of pixels in each experimental plot. The thickness of mulch layer required to attain a 50 and 90% weed suppression (ED50 and ED90) differed significantly within and between mulch types. In all except one instance, the cocoa mulch was superior in suppressing weeds. This method was useful for the evaluation, but further research is needed to give a more general conclusion about the suppression ability of the two mulches under other climatic and growing conditions.