A living mulch combines an annual crop with a cover crop to provide pest control and soil protection. Results of a study in the Salinas Valley show cabbage aphid infestation can be lowered on broccoli grown in living mulches compared to clean cultivation, possible because light reflectance patterns are less attractive to incoming aphids. Early and intense mowing of the cover crop and adequate irrigation maintained broccoli yield in living mulches relative to clean cultivation. Lack of specialized equipment is the main limitation to the commercial application of living mulches at this time.
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