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Polyethylene Mulch Trial

M. D. Orzolek and L. Otjen
Department of Horticulture
The Pennsylvania State University

Crops Planted

  • Tomato 'Sunbeam'

Bed Preparation

  • Raised Bed; 5/22/96

Fertilizer

  • 40lb/A N; 50 lb/A P; 150 lb/A K; Fertigated 6/18/96

Date Planted

  • April 8, 1996 

Date Transplanted

  • June 3, 1996 

Design

  •  Randomized complete block with 3 replications

Plot Size

  •  20' Row; 1.5' between plants; 6' between rows >

Irrigation

  • Drip

Pesticides

  • Bravo 720 (2 pt/A); 8/8, 8/16/96
  • Kocide (1 lb/A) + Manzate 200 (1.5 lb/A);
  • 8/22/96 Asana XL (8 oz/A); 7/25/96
  • Sevin 80S (1 lb/A); Asana (8 oz/A)
  • Bravo 720 (1.5 NA)

Comments

Yield from plants growing on the Sonoco Red 2 plastic mulch was almost double compared to the tomato plants grown on the standard black plastic mulch. Plants growmg on red mulch produced more fruit per plant than plants growing on black, IRT, and yellow plastic mulch. Surprisingly, tomato plants grown on silver mulch produced a significantly higher fruit yield compared to both black and IRT (green). In this trial, tomato plants grown on IRT green mulch produced the lowest yield compared to all the other colored mulches. A defoliation rating (mainly from early blight) m in late August suggested that tomato plants growing on red mulch had much lower defoliation ratings compared to the other colors, especially the standard black.

 

Mulch
Manufacturer-Color
Total Marketable
Fruit
No.lbs.
Yield
(T/A)
#1
No.lbs.
#2
No.lbs.
#3
No.lbs.
#4
No.lbs.
Cull
No. lbs.
Cracked
No.
Sonoco-Red 2 274154.4 54.0 193124.8 5221.0 278.0 30.6 3319.2 0.5
Polyon-Silver 228132.6 46.4 168110.1 3915.9 196.0 30.7 3119.5 0.3
Sonoco-Red 1 224128.6 45.0 161106.5 3815.1 216.3 40.8 2918.2 0.8
Polyon-Red 198117.4 41.1 158102.0 3012.1 92.8 20.5 3121.1 0.8
Rochelle-Yellow 15791.2 31.9 11074.7 2610.9 164.8 40.8 2716.2 0.0
Sonoco-Black 15086.5 30.3 11172.1 2410.3 113.5 30.6 3321.0 1.3
AEP-IRT 14581.7 28.6 10768.0 218.7 144.4 30.7 2011.6 0.5
LSD .05 6136.6 12.8 5133.9 176.5 113.0 NSDNSD 107.3 1.2