Plastic Biodegradable Mulches Reduce Weeds and Promote Crop Growth in Day-neutral Strawberry in Western Washington

in HortScience

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.

Contributor Notes

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.

Assistant Professor.

Graduate Research Assistants.

Scientific Assistant.

Professor.

Corresponding author. E-mail: lisa.devetter@wsu.edu.

Article Sections

Article Figures

  • View in gallery

    Percent visual cover (PVC) of different mulch treatments applied to strawberry in Mount Vernon, WA, 2014–15.

  • View in gallery

    Percent weed cover in strawberry grown with biodegradable and black polyethylene (PE) plastic mulches in Mount Vernon, WA, 2015.

Article References

  • AndradeC.PalhaM.DuarteE.2014Biodegradable mulch films performance for autumn-winter strawberry productionJ. Berry Res.44193202

  • AnzaloneA.CirujedaA.AibarJ.PardoG.ZaragozaC.2010Effect of biodegradable mulch materials on weed control in processing tomatoesWeed Technol.243369377

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BilckA.P.GrossmannM.V.YamashitaF.2010Biodegradable mulch films for strawberry productionPolym. Test.294471476

  • BrodhagenM.PeyronM.MilesC.InglisD.A.2015Biodegradable plastic agricultural mulches and key features of microbial degradationAppl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.99310391056

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • California Strawberry Commission20172017 California strawberry acreage survey. 14 Aug. 2017. <http://www.calstrawberry.com/Resources-News/Industry-Reports>

  • Casierra-PosadaF.FonsecaE.VaughanG.2011Fruit quality in strawberry (Fragaria sp.) grown on colored plastic mulchAgron. Colomb.293407413

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CostaR.SaraivaA.CarvalhoL.DuarteE.2014The use of biodegradable mulch films on strawberry crop in PortugalSci. Hort.1736570

  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CowanJ.S.MilesC.A.AndrewsP.K.InglisD.A.2014Biodegradable mulch performed comparable to polyethylene in high tunnel tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) productionJ. Sci. Food Agr.9418541864

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diaz-PerezJ.C.PhatakS.C.GiddingsD.BertrandD.MillsH.A.2005Root zone temperature, plant growth, and fruit yield of tomatillo as affected by plastic film mulchHortScience4013121319

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FernandezG.E.ButlerL.M.LouwsF.J.2001Strawberry growth and development in an annual plasticulture systemHortScience3612191223

  • FreemanS.GnayemN.2005Use of plasticulture for strawberry plant productionSmall Fruits Rev.412132

  • ForcellaF.PoppeS.R.HansenN.C.HeadW.A.HooverE.PropsomF.McKensieJ.2003Biological mulches for managing weeds in transplanted strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa)Weed Technol.174782787

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GalinatoS.P.MilesC.PonnaluruS.2012Cost estimates of producing fresh market field-grown tomato in western Washington. Washington State Univ. Ext. Publ. FS080E

  • GalinatoS.P.WaltersT.W.2012Cost estimates of producing strawberries in a high tunnel in western Washington. Washington State Univ. Ext. Publ. FS093E

  • GartheJ.W.KowalP.D.1993Recycling used agricultural plastics. Penn. State Fact Sheet C-8

  • GarwoodT.1998An economic analysis of matted row plasticulture and greenhouse production systems in North Carolina. N.C. State Univ. Raleigh NC MS Diss

  • GhimireS.MilesC.2016Dimensions and costs of polyethylene paper and biodegradable plastic mulch. Washington State Univ. Ext. Factsheet

  • HaapalaT.PalonenP.KorpelaA.AhokasJ.2014Feasibility of paper mulches in crop production—A reviewAgr. Food Sci.236079

  • HakkarainenM.AlbertssonA.2004Environmental degradation of polyethyleneAdv. Polym. Sci.169177199

  • Hoashi-ErhardtW.WaltersT.2014Growing day-neutral strawberries in western Washington. Washington State Univ. Fact Sheet FS132E

  • JamshidianM.TehranyA.ImranM.JacquotM.DesobryS.2010Poly-lactic acid: Production, applications, nanocomposites, and release studiesCompr. Rev. Food Sci. Food Saf.9552571

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KasirajanS.NgouajioM.2012Polyethylene and biodegradable mulches for agri-cultural applications: A reviewAgron. Sustain. Dev.322501529

  • KasperbauerM.LoughrinJ.WangS.2001Light reflected from red mulch to ripening strawberries affects aroma, sugar and organic acid concentrationsPhotochem. Photobiol. Sci.741103107

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KumarS.DeyP.2011Effects of different mulches and irrigation methods on root growth, nutrient uptake, water-use efficiency and yield of strawberrySci. Hort.1273318324

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LamentW.J.Jr1993Plastic mulches for the production of vegetable cropsHortTechnology33539

  • LevitanL.2005Reducing dioxin emissions by recycling agricultural plastics: Creating a viable alternative to open burning. Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable New York NY

  • LiC.Moore-KuceraJ.MilesC.LeonasK.LeeJ.CorbinA.InglisD.2014Degradation of potentially biodegradable plastic mulch films at three diverse U.S. locationsAgroecol. Sust. Food38861889

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LucasN.BienaimeC.BelloyC.QueneudecM.SilvestreF.Nava-SaucedoJ.E.2008Polymer biodegradation: Mechanisms and estimation techniques—A reviewChemosphere734429442

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MilesC.DeVetterL.GhimireS.HayesD.G.2017Suitability of biodegradable plastic mulches for organic and sustainable agricultural production systemsHortScience521015

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MilesC.WallaceR.WszelakiA.MartinJ.CowanJ.WaltersT.InglisD.2012Deterioration of potentially biodegradable alternatives to black plastic mulch in three tomato production regionsHortScience4712701277

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MooreR.C.1963Plastic mulch aids growth of young grape vines and cuttingsBiokemia112123

  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SivanA.2011New perspectives in plastic biodegradationCurr. Opin. Biotechnol.22422426

  • TaparauskienėL.MiseckaitėO.2014Effect of mulch on soil moisture depletion and strawberry yield in sub-humid areaPol. J. Environ. Stud.232475482

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TouchaleaumeF.Martin-ClosasL.Angellier-CoussyH.ChevillardA.CesarG.GontardN.GastaldiE.2016Performance and environmental impact of biodegradable polymers as agricultural mulching filmsChemosphere144433439

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Washington State University (WSU) AgWeatherNet2017AgWeatherNet. 7 July 2017. <http://weather.wsu.edu/>

  • WatererD.2010Evaluation of biodegradable mulches for production of warm-season vegetable cropsCan. J. Plant Sci.905737743

  • WeberC.A.2003Biodegradable mulch films for weed suppression in the establishment year of matted-row strawberriesHortTechnology13665668

Article Information

Google Scholar

Related Content

Article Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 260 260 67
Full Text Views 79 79 4
PDF Downloads 17 17 1