Submitted to: Sustainable potato production: global case studies
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2011
Publication Date: 5/31/2012
Citation: Wang, F., He, Z. 2012. Effects of plastic mulch on potato growth. In: He, Z., Larkin, R.P., Honeycutt, C.W., editors. Sustainable potato production: global case studies. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Springer. p. 359-372. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Northern China is a major potato production region, and water-saving measures that can enhance both potato yield and quality play an important role in this region due to general water shortages. Plastic mulch has been used as an effective water-saving measure for potato cultivation in China. This chapter reviews the case studies on the effects of plastic mulching on potato growth, conducted at two areas of North China. Data from these experiments indicated that plastic mulching could save irrigation water and reduce evapotranspiration in most cases. Plastic mulch could restrain or enhance potato plant growth during the early growth, dependent on the microenviromental air and soil temperatures. The possible negative effects of plastic mulching included a lower emergence, lower potato tuber yield, and poorer tubers quality, which may be attributable to the poorer soil aeration and detrimentally high soil temperature associated with plastic mulch when the air temperature is high. As mulch duration is an influential factor, data from these case studies suggested that 60 days of mulching duration was most favorable for potato production in the tested areas. Mulch removal after 60 days was proposed to avoid subsequent negative effects. To complement the current knowledge on the plastic mulching research, future research should be focused on the hydrothermal dynamics and its effect on potato growth with different drip irrigation regimes under plastic mulching conditions.