Day-neutral strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) is typically grown in plasticulture production systems that use black polyethylene (PE) mulch for weed management and promotion of crop growth and yield. The objectives of this research were to evaluate several commercial plastic and paper biodegradable mulch (BDM) products [Bio360, Experimental Prototype (Exp. Prototype), and WeedGuardPlus] in comparison with standard black PE mulch and bare ground cultivation in day-neutral strawberry grown in an annual system in northwestern Washington. Mulch performance [as percent visual cover (PVC)], weed suppression, marketable yield, plant biomass, and fruit quality were evaluated in ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’ strawberry grown in 2014 and 2015. PVC measured at the end of the production season was lowest for the Exp. Prototype (8%) in 2014 and was greatest for Bio360 (90%), WeedGuardPlus (90%), and PE (98%). In 2015, PVC at the end of the production season was again lowest for Exp. Prototype (62%), followed by WeedGuardPlus (64%), Bio360 (93%), and PE mulch (97%). Overall, weed pressure was higher in 2015 relative to 2014 and was greatest in the bare ground treatment in both years of the study. By the end of the 2015 season, weed cover in the bare ground treatment was 95%, followed by WeedGuardPlus (50%), Exp. Prototype (34%), PE (25%), and Bio360 (15%). Yield showed year and cultivar effects and was higher in mulched treatments. Plant biomass showed varying effects; root biomass was lowest in ‘Seascape’ in 2015 under the bare ground treatment and greatest under Bio360, which was similar to PE mulch and WeedGuardPlus. Leaf biomass was lowest in the bare ground treatment and highest in mulched treatments (except in 2015, when leaf biomass was intermediate for plants grown with WeedGuardPlus). Crown biomass showed a similar trend and was overall greater for plants grown in mulched treatments except for Bio360 in 2014, which was the same as the bare ground treatment. Overall, fruit quality was maintained among strawberry grown with BDMs, with soluble solids concentration (SSC, %) and titratable acidity (TA) being the only variables to show treatment effects. SCC tended to be lower in fruit from bare ground plots. TA was different for ‘Seascape’ in 2015 with fruit from bare ground and Exp. Prototype treatments having higher TA than the PE treatment. This study demonstrates that BDMs can be comparable to PE mulch in terms of performance and impacts on crop productivity in day-neutral strawberry, suggesting that BDMs could be a viable alternative to PE mulch for strawberry growers in the Pacific Northwest.
This work was funded by Washington State University’s Emerging Research Issues program.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Curtis Faustich, Rachel Rudolph, Rachel Weber, Matt Arrington, and China Moss for project assistance.
CowanJ.S.InglisD.A.MilesC.A.2013Deterioration of three potentially biodegradable plastic mulches before and after soil incorporation in a broccoli field production system in northwestern WashingtonHortTechnology23849858
Cowan,J.S.Inglis,D.A.Miles,C.A.2013Deterioration of three potentially biodegradable plastic mulches before and after soil incorporation in a broccoli field production system in northwestern Washington23849858)| false
MorraL.CozzolinoE.CerratoD.BilottoM.MignoliE.CoppolaR.LeoneV.PetriccioneM.PasquarielloM.S.ParilloR.LannaF.MastrobuoniF.ZampillaL.2015The effect of Mater-Bi based biodegradable mulch on production organoleptic and nutritional quality of strawberry. In the results of the project to replace polyethylene mulch with the biodegradable ones in Mater-Bi for horticultural crops and under-green fruits: Agronomic and economic evaluations (in Italian). Programma di Sviluppo Rurale
NASS2001Noncitrus fruits and nuts 2001 summary. 18 July 2017. <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1113>
NASS2017Noncitrus fruits and nuts 2016 summary. 14 Aug. 2017. <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1113>
NgouajioM.AurasR.FernandezR.T.RubinoM.CountsJ.W.JrKijchavengkulT.2008Field performance of aliphatic-aromatic copolyester biodegradable mulch films in a fresh market tomato production systemHortTechnology18605610
Ngouajio,M.Auras,R.Fernandez,R.T.Rubino,M.Counts,J.W.JrKijchavengkul,T.2008Field performance of aliphatic-aromatic copolyester biodegradable mulch films in a fresh market tomato production system18605610)| false
TouchaleaumeF.Martin-ClosasL.Angellier-CoussyH.ChevillardA.CesarG.GontardN.GastaldiE.2016Performance and environmental impact of biodegradable polymers as agricultural mulching filmsChemosphere144433439
Touchaleaume,F.Martin-Closas,L.Angellier-Coussy,H.Chevillard,A.Cesar,G.Gontard,N.Gastaldi,E.2016Performance and environmental impact of biodegradable polymers as agricultural mulching films144433439)| false
USDA2014aNational Organic Standards (NOS) §205.206 Crop pest weed and disease management practice standard. 7 July 2017. <http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPOrganicStandards>
USDA2014bNational Organic Standards (NOS) § 205.601(b)(2)(i–ii) Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production. 19 July 2017. <https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2009-title7-vol3/pdf/CFR-2009-title7-vol3-sec205-601.pdf>
USDA2017Web soil survey. 14 Aug. 2017 <https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov>
WangS.Y.GallettaG.J.CampM.J.KasperbauerM.J.1998Mulch types affect fruit quality and composition of two strawberry genotypesHortScience33636640
Wang,S.Y.Galletta,G.J.Camp,M.J.Kasperbauer,M.J.1998Mulch types affect fruit quality and composition of two strawberry genotypes33636640)| false