Ground cover vegetation in olive groves and IPM

The Directive 2009/128/EC aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU and came to reinforce the necessity of develop and implement effective strategies of crop protection, alternative to chemical control in order to contribute for a sustainable production. So naturally, a diverse complex of natural enemies cohabits with pests, feeding on them and reducing their numbers, and consequently, the damage on the crop. These natural enemies, in some phases of their development use alternative resources, such as pollen or nectar, which are provided by several flowering plants. Some studies have evaluated the performance of some natural enemies of the olive moth, when feed on flower resources that naturally occurs in the ground cover of olive groves.

These studies suggested a set of plants that sequentially bloom during the year and show aptness to be stablished in olive orchard, namely eight herbaceous and small plants that can be used in the interrow (i.e., Andryala integrifolia L., Borago officinalis L., Echium plantagineum Jacq., Lamium purpureum L., Malva sylvestris L., Silene gallica L., Tolpis barbata (L.) Gaerth and Veronica persica Poir.), and five bigger shrub plants that can be used in the margins or flowing patches within the olive grove (i.e., Conopodium majus Druce, Daucus carota L., Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Lavandula stoechas L. and Lonicera hispanica Boiss. & Reut.). Under a conservation biological control point of view, in NOVATERRA project field studies will be conducted in order to evaluate the efficiency of several plants used as ground cover of interrow or in the margins to increment the abundance and diversity of natural enemies as well as their effectiveness in the pest control.