EFFECT OF SPECTRAL QUALITIES OF PLASTIC MULCH ON WEED DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH

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  • 1 Department of Plant Sciences, Macdonald Campus, McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste Anne de Bellevue, Québec H9X 3V9, Canada

The types of plastic mulch used in horticultural production often fulfill only a few of the grower's needs. Black plastic mulch controls weeds, but can burn young plants. Clear mulch, while warming the soil and enhancing early crop growth, allows prolific weed growth and development. Accordingly, an experiment using a randomized complete-block design with-four replications was set up to compare the effects of black, microperforated black, silver, and wavelength-selective (IRT-76) green mulches, and bare soil on weed growth and development, and on soil temperature and moisture. Each mulch was evaluated for its optical properties. All mulches significantly reduced final stands of seeded weeds compared with bare soil. IRT-76 green had the warmest mean soil temperatures, followed by silver, black, and microperforated black mulches, and bare soil. Soil moisture content was generally higher under plastic mulches than bare soil.

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