Field trials network (WP3)


  • Design, set up and implement, eight field trials across four significantly contrasted climatic areas in order to study the effectiveness of the novel techniques (mulching and soil conditioners alone and combined), making comparisons between them and with reference techniques. The study will focus on the effect of the techniques on plant survival and fitness, soil variables related with water availability and fertility, biochemical features of soil organic matter and release of specific compounds, as well as on techniques durability and degradability.

Tasks (CTFC):

The 8 field trials are deployed across a range of 4 strongly contrasted climatic areas in NE Spain, representative of the main climates of the European and Mediterranean context. Each field trial has been planted with the tree species that are most commonly utilized in the area.

Click on the map points to see the characteristics of each field trial. Click here to see the whole set of field trials.

Each field trial includes 17 treatments, with 30 trees per treatment organized in a split-plot design: 6 blocks of 5 trees each, per field trial. The treatments are combinations of soil conditioners and weeding techniques, indicated with an “X” at the following table:


 Techniques marked in green are novel techniques while those in yellow are reference techniques    * Only in Subalpine conditions


In the case of the black truffle field trial (Field trial 4), the design and the treatments were modified because of the particularities of this production and the need for utilizing different reference techniques: in this case, there are 13 treatments, with 12 trees per treatment organized in a split-plot design, with 12 blocks of 1 tree each. The treatments are indicated with an X at the following table:

Treatments_truffle_SustafforTechniques marked in green are novel techniques while those in yellow are reference techniques.

The whole field trials network consists of 3,846 trees.

The field trials were installed between January and April 2014, following the experimental design described above. The Photo Gallery includes pictures of the installation process of the different field trials.

Parallel to the field trials, a network of 3 mulch degradation trials has been established at Semiarid, Mediterranean humid and Subalpine conditions. Click here to see the description of these experiences.

The experience under semi-controlled conditions (pot experiment) was implemented in November 2014 within a shading structure in the Experimental Fields of University of Barcelona.

The experiment is composed of 144 pots (2.5 l) with a loamy soil low in carbonates (< 10 %), subjected to an irrigation program designed to reflect a typical Mediterranean climate. Irrigation is performed individually for each pot, at 15-days intervals.

The experiment follows a full factorial design:


 Tree monitoring will be done similarly to the corresponding of field experiences (see Field trials monitoring).

Soil monitoring will be performed 6 (April 2015) and 12 (September 2015) months after the trial installing, each affecting to 48 pots. The analyses are described in Soil analyses.