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Cover Crops Improve Sustainability of Star Fruit Production

Cover crops can help the sustainability of star fruit farms, according to research reported by the American Society of Agronomy. Florida International University researcher Ariel Freidenreich says star fruit, or carambola, is becoming more popular as a crop in south Florida. It offers an alternative to citrus and avocado, crops that are challenged by disease in Florida. In this study, the research team explored how cover crops of sunn hemp and velvet bean contribute organic matter to the soil and improve nutrient availability for the cash crop. The cover crops can also provide mulch to help protect carambola tree roots from cold temperatures, and sunn hemp can help provide a windbreak for the wind-sensitive star fruit crop.