EFFECT OF MULCH COLOR ON TOMATO YIELDS AND ON INSECT VECTORS.

in HortScience

Field studies were conducted for three seasons, Fall 1988, and Spring and Fall of 1989 on the effect of six mulch colors: blue, orange, red, aluminum, white or black (fall or spring), and yellow on fruit yields and on insect vectors of `Sunny' tomato, In Fall 1988, in a single harvest, fruit size was greater and total marketable yields were higher with blue than with aluminum and yellow mulches. In Spring 1989 early yields of large (> 70 mm) and marketable fruit were higher with aluminum and red than with yellow and blue mulches. In Fall 1989 early yield of large fruit was higher with white than with yellow mulch. Early marketable yields were highest with white and aluminum mulches. Total yields of large fruits were highest with orange and blue mulches but marketable yields were similar with all six mulch colors. The fewest number of aphids, thrips and whiteflies were trapped on aluminum mulch. Blue mulch attracted the largest number of aphids and thrips. Red mulch attracted whiteflies. The three insects are important vectors of several virus diseases.

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