Delay in Mosaic Virus Onset and Aphid Vector Reduction in Summer Squash Grown on Reflective Mulches

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  • 1 Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL 36849
  • | 2 Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, 41.5 Courthouse, Birmingham, AL 35263
  • | 3 Upper Coastal Plains Substation, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Winfield, AL 35594
  • | 4 Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Research Data Analysis, Auburn University, AL 36849

Silver reflective plastic mulches were compared with conventional bare-ground culture of yellow crookneck summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L. var. melopepo Alef.) for reducing aphids and the following mosaic virus diseases: cucumber mosaic, watermelon mosaic I and II, zucchini yellows mosaic, and squash mosaic. Plants grown on silver plastic mulch produced higher marketable yields than those grown on bare ground. Other colors (white, yellow, and black with yellow edges) of plastic mulch were intermediate in their effects on aphid population and virus disease reduction. Silver reflective mulch alone and silver reflective mulch with insecticide were superior to other colors of plastic mulch in reducing aphid populations. Silver reflective plastic mulch, with or without insecticide, resulted in 10 to 13 days delay in the onset of the mosaic diseases noted.

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