194-6 Evaluating the Effects of Plastic Mulches Red, Black, Olive, and Control (Bare Ground) on the Growth and Yield of Tomato.

Poster Number 200

See more from this Division: C03 Crop Ecology, Management & Quality
See more from this Session: Management of Bio-Energy and Other Crops
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
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Annette James1, John Sawtelle2 and Richard Griffin1, (1)Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Human Ecology, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX
(2)Cypress, TX
Vegetable production on raised beds with plastic mulch has become the method of choice in many parts of the country for high-value crops.  Crops such as muskmelons, tomatoes, and peppers, have shown significant increases in earliness, yield, and fruit quality when grown on plastic mulch.  Three major colors of mulches are used commercially: black, clear, and white (or white-on-black). Some of the advantages that plastic mulch provides include earlier harvest, reduction in evaporation, weeds, fertilizer leaching, soil compaction, and increases in yield. However, there are disadvantages to mulching including greater initial cost of materials. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of three plastic colored mulches and a control (bare ground) on the growth and yield of an heirloom tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), Brandywine Pink. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design consisting of three blocks and four treatments – red, black, olive mulches and control. Seedlings were transplanted into mulched beds 6 m by 1.2 m in rows at spacing of 0.8 m. Each plot contained 7 plants. Fruits were harvested 2 1/2 months after transplanting and continued for a period of a month. Fruit size and weights were collected and data analyzed using SAS. Results showed that fruit weights were not significantly different for treatments and were significantly different for block x treatment (P < 0.05). Mean weights were 0.81, 1.24, 0.64 and 0.91 kg for control, black, olive and red mulch treatments, respectively. An R2 of 0.34 and a RMSE of 0.81 kg were obtained. Comparisons at the 0.05 level were significant between black and olive treatments. Field observations indicated that fruits obtained from red and black mulches were very large and plants grew vigorously. Plants grown under olive mulch and control did not perform optimally and therefore, yields were low.
See more from this Division: C03 Crop Ecology, Management & Quality
See more from this Session: Management of Bio-Energy and Other Crops