It is essential to find ways and mean to increase the yield and lessen the cost of production so that there is enough fruit production to meet the requirement of the consumers. The yearly growth of plants, excessive growth of weeds and production of fruits deplete the soil of its nutrient reserves resulting in reduction of native-soil fertility. Mulching of organic and inorganic materials create favourable conditions for getting maximum production of quality fruits on sustainable basis within the limits of soil, water and fertility management. There is a need to conserve soil moisture and reduce weed population for proper maintenance of soil moisture and fertility. Mulching is thus, one of the most important cultural practice which affects growth, yield and quality in fruit crops. Tree growth is greatly influenced by the use of different organic and inorganic mulching materials. They conserve soil moisture in the root zone of fruit trees. The presence of adequate moisture in the soil is vital for growth and physiological processes. Besides conserving moisture, mulching also prevents sudden and extreme temperature changes, reduces erosion by wind or water, checks surface run-off and suppresses the weed growth. The application of organic and inorganic mulches in fruit orchards create an additive effect by restricting the nutrient removal through weeds and ultimately creating favourable conditions for availability of nutrients for getting higher productivity of good quality fruits on sustainable basis.
Key words: Mulching, growth, fruit quality, yield, moisture conservation, weed control.
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