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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo

On-line version ISSN 1806-9657


MELLONI, Rogério et al. Methods of weed control and their impacts on microbial quality of soil under coffee. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2013, vol.37, n.1, pp.66-75. ISSN 1806-9657.

Minas Gerais stands out as the largest coffee-producing state of Brazil. This crop is extremely susceptible to weeds, which can be handled by manual, mechanized and/or chemical methods, which strongly affect production costs and soil quality. In this sense, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of different weed control methods in and between coffee rows on the soil microbiota and its processes. For this purpose, soil samples were taken in April 2010 from an Oxisol on the experimental farm of the Agricultural Research Company of Minas Gerais (EPAMIG), in São Sebastião do Paraíso, MG, at a depth of 0-10 cm in the middle of the track (interrow) of coffee and 20 cm away from the stem of the coffee trees (row), to determine the following properties: total density of bacteria and fungi, phosphate solubilizers, cellulolytic and ammonifying microorganisms, non-symbiotic diazotrophic bacteria, carbon biomass and microbial activity, metabolic quotient (qCO2) and enzymatic activity by the hydrolysis of fluorescein diacetate. The coffee plants were subjected to seven methods of weed control: mowing, coffee tandem disk harrow (grid), rotary tiller, post-emergence herbicide, pre-emergence herbicide, manual weeding, and no weed control. The results showed the complexity of the effects of these different methods on soil and its processes, with lowest impacts of manual weeding and rotary hoe. Mowing, coffee tandem disk harrow, no weed control and pre-emergence herbicide caused intermediate impacts, while the application of post-emergence herbicides in-between coffee rows caused the most negative impacts on the evaluated properties. It is suggested that these impacts must be considered when evaluating and selecting the method for weed control in coffee plants.

Keywords : microbial groups; soil microorganisms; microbial processes; soil quality.

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