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Journal Articles PeerJ Year : 2022

Effect of a cover crop on the aphid incidence is not explained by increased top-down regulation

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cover crops can be used as a habitat management strategy to enhance the natural enemies and their temporal synchronization with a target pest. We examined the effect of winter oat intercropping within organic plum orchards on the natural enemy abundance and seasonal dynamics on the biological control of plum aphids in spring in Central Chile. METHODS: We compared the incidence and abundance of natural enemies and aphid pests from winter to the end of spring using two treatments: (1) plum trees with an oat cover crop (OCC) and (2) plum trees without a cover crop but with spontaneous vegetation (SV). We hypothesized that cover crops allow the development of winter cereal aphids, promoting the early arrival of natural enemies in spring, resulting in an earlier control of plum aphids. RESULTS: Winter cereal aphids developed well on the OCC, and as a result, a lower plum aphid incidence in spring was observed when compared to the SV. However, the abundance of natural enemies and the parasitism rates cannot explain the positive impacts of the oat cover crop on the aphid populations as there were no differences between treatments. A potential effect of the oat due to chemical and/or physical stimuli (bottom-up effects) could help to explain these results.

Dates and versions

hal-03690434 , version 1 (08-06-2022)

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Jeniffer K Alvarez-Baca, Xiomara Montealegre, Cécile Le Lann, Joan van Baaren, Blas Lavandero. Effect of a cover crop on the aphid incidence is not explained by increased top-down regulation. PeerJ, 2022, 10, pp.e13299. ⟨10.7717/peerj.13299⟩. ⟨hal-03690434⟩
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