Date of Award

Fall 2007

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Serita Frey


This study evaluated the short-term effects of a red clover living mulch on soil physical, chemical and biological properties, in an organically managed tomato agroecosystern in New Hampshire. Four treatments were established, including bare ground with no black plastic (BGNP), bare ground with black plastic (BGBP), red clover with no plastic (LMNP), and red clover with black plastic (LMBP). The effects of these practices are discussed in relation to total soil C and N, N mineralization, microbial biomass, mycorrhizal root colonization, aggregation, bulk density, moisture, and pH. Tomato yield, plant N uptake, and weed emergence were also determined. Large macroaggregates were significantly greater between rows of LM compared to BG treatments. Tomato yields were lower for LM plots in 2005, though not in 2006. While soil properties indicate some improvement, future studies over longer periods of time are required on living mulch systems before recommendations can be made to farmers.