ROW COVERS, WATERMELON, AND HAIL DAMAGE

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  • 1 Wes Watkins Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Oklahoma State University, Box 128, Lane, Oklahoma 74555

A factorial experiment with four mulch treatments (clear, black, or IRT plastic, and a non-mulched control), two planting types (seed vs. transplants), and two row cover treatments (with and without) was initiated to determine the harvest date of watermelon with these treatments. Experiments were planted in the field April 7. Row covers (Kimberly Farms, spunbonded polypropylene, 20 g·m-2) were suspended on wire hoops above selected plots. Soil temperatures at 5 cm, measured at noon, were lower in plots with row covers. On May 13, the row covers were in the process of being removed when a thunderstorm developed. One guard row remained covered during the storm. Hail ranging from 1.3 to 2.5 cm in diameter fell for 30 minutes, with a final accumulation of 5 cm of hail and 10 cm of rain. There was no noticeable difference between transplants and direct seeded plants, or among the different types of mulch, on resistance to hail damage. All plots that were not covered with row covers were totally destroyed. However, the area on which row covers had not been removed received only minor damage.

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