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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Preliminary Field Tests of Hydramulch for Muskmelon (Cucumis Melo L.) and Bell Pepper (Capsicum Annuum L.) Production

Authors
item Warnick, J. P. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA
item Chase, C. A. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA
item Rosskopf, Erin
item Scholberg, J. M. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA
item Simonne, E. H. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA

Submitted to: Journal of Vegetable Crop Production
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 19, 2006
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
Citation: Warnick, J., Chase, C., Rosskopf, E.N., Scholberg, J., Simonne, E. 2006. Preliminary field tests of hydramulch for muskmelon (cucumis melo l.) and bell pepper (capsicum annuum l.) production. Journal of Vegetable Crop Production. 12:39-55.

Technical Abstract: Hydramulch, a biodegradable mulch in development comprised of cotton byproducts, newspaper, gypsum and a proprietary adhesive, was evaluated for its potential to serve as a more sustainable alternative to polyethylene mulch for vegetable production. The growth and yield of muskmelon and bell pepper with three hydramulch formulations, polyethylene mulch and a nonmulched control were compared. Crops with differing shoot architecture were selected to evaluate canopy contribution to weed suppression and the persistence of the hydramulch. Less cracking and wind removal of hydramulch occurred with muskmelon than with bell pepper and with 4 mm-thick hydramulch than 2 mm-thick. Hydramulch suppressed broadleaf weeds and grasses, but not purple nutsedge. Crop growth and yield were significantly lower with hydramulch when compared to polyethylene mulch. Current formulations of hydramulch appear to be applicable to crops with vining plant canopies like cucurbits that can aid in anchoring the hydramulch and suppressing weeds. Attention to nutrition management is also necessary to avoid crop biomass and yield penalties, which may be related to the high C:N ratio of the mulch. The results of these early tests will help to guide the improvement of hydramulch formulation and application methods.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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