In areas with sufficient precipitation (e.g. >500 mm during the growth season) and suitable soil type the maintenance of a permanent or temporary green cover during the growth season is highly recommended to avoid soil compaction, promote water infiltration and increase biodiversity.
The use of leguminous crops (Leguminosae/Fabaceae) as cover crops to improve soil structure, weed control and soil fertility is recommended. Take into consideration that some of these plants can be host plant of pest such as Halyomorpha halys.
Alleyways should be sown with grass and/or herbs and have adequate width to easily accommodate the tractor wheels.
Non-competitive grass/herb mixtures are recommended. However, in case of excessive vigorous growth in existing orchards, the use of herbicides should be avoided.
A green cover during winter is strongly advised at least in the alleyways, with an exception for arid areas where this green cover could create water deficiencies.
It is recommended that in case of necessary control of weeds in the tree row, to avoid undue competition for moisture and nutrients, a weed free strip should be maintained by mulching or covering the soil surface or by mechanical cultivation. Mulch type and sanitary quality should be carefully selected since it could favour certain pest (voles). It is recommended that, where possible, ground cover is allowed to develop in the weed free strip when soil moisture is adequate (e.g. the winter).
It is recommended that use of selective broad-leaf weed herbicides in the alleyways is avoided.
The use of Leguminosae as cover crops to improve soil structure, weed control and soil fertility is recommended.