Pfiffner, Lukas; Cahenzli, Fabian; Steinemann, Beatrice; Jamar, Laurent; Chor Bjørn, Mona; Porcel, Mario; Tasin, Marco; Telfser, Josef; Kelderer, Markus og Sigsgaard, Lene
In the second and third year after sowing, plant diversity and ground cover between flower strips (FS) in the drive alleys and the spontaneous orchard vegetation in control plots (Cont) were compared in 19 experimental blocks of eight organic apple orchards in six European countries. On average 73.7% of the sown plant species were established and plant diversity of FS was on average 43% higher than in Cont. Multivariate analysis further revealed significant dissimilarities in the plant communities of the two treatments. Intensive mulching of flower strips also affected the plant community: species richness and ground cover by forbs and plants, which especially promote functional agrobiodiversity (FAB plants), decreased significantly. We show that perennial FS with native plants are a valuable approach to enrich plant diversity in orchards in different European countries. Limitations and recommendations for the implementation and management of FS in orchards are discussed.