The citrus yield in Brazil is not ranked among the best in the world, potentially due to inadequate management by citrus growers. The low adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) techniques and the improper application of herbicides are also well-known problems. Thus, this study evaluated the use of CA techniques, and two Urochloa species (ruzi grass and signal grass) were used as cover crops. Two different types of mowers (ecological, EM; conventional, CM) launched the mowed biomass into different positions within a young Tahiti acid lime orchard (up to four years old). In addition, the integration of glyphosate into this management system was evaluated, with (GLY) and without (NO GLY) glyphosate application. This experiment was conducted across three growing seasons (2011–2014), in Mogi Mirim, São Paulo State, Brazil. The cover crop biomass yields and the effects of the mowing treatments, weed density, vegetative growth and fruit yields of the Tahiti acid lime trees were evaluated. In terms of major results, signal grass produced higher biomass yield values (up to 64%) than ruzi grass; EM promoted higher mowed biomass values in the intra-row (up to 5.1 ton ha-1, 9.0 times higher than CM), and a higher canopy volume (up to 33% than CM). These results were enhanced when ruzi grass was associated with the EM (56% lower weed density; 126% higher fruit yield than CM) and with GLY (52% higher fruit yield than NO GLY); and EM with GLY (43% lesser weed density and 107% higher fruit yield than NO GLY). Overall, ruzi grass was a good cover crop because it provided less competition for the citrus trees, EM provided a mulch layer in the intra-row of the citrus trees, and associated with GLY, these approaches could provide options for an integrated and more sustainable weed management, primarily for young Tahiti acid lime orchards.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; signal grass, Urochloa ruziziensis (R. Germ. & C.M. Evrard) Morrone & Zuloaga; Tahiti acid lime, Citrus latifolia (Yu. Tanaka) Tanaka.