Soils need to be protected for degradation and erosion by appropriate soil tillage and soil cover strategies maintaining the longest possible soil protection by crop or non-crop cover. Soil protection should be sustainable under the local conditions and optimised locally.

Alleyways must contain cover plants to avoid soil erosion and compaction without detriment to yield and quality, to maintain and enhance plant species diversity in the olive grove to increase ecological stability, and to minimize the use of herbicides.

Bare soil management is permitted in spring and summer to avoid competition for water and nutrients.

Overall bare soil management of olive groves throughout the year is not permitted with an exception for arid areas where this green cover could create water deficiencies and the risk of fires is high.

Regional or national guidelines must specify a maximum width for the weed free strip and/or percentage of the soil surface which may be weed-free. The procedures for practical implementation must be defined in the regional guidelines according to climate, soil type, slope, cultivars, age of the trees and precipitation levels.

Herbicides can only be used locally during spring and summer in places where the use of machinery (preferred option) is difficult.

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