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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, 3190 Maile Way, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822

Living mulches offer a low-input alternative to achieve weed control while minimizing herbicide applications, decreased fertilizer leaching, insect and nematode management. and improved soil texture. A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of a Rhodes Grass (Chloris gayana cv. Katambora) living mulch on the growth and productivity of ten eggplant. Solanum melongena, cultivars grown under fertigation. The living sod was established at the Univ. Hawaii Waimanalo Experiment Station in June 1992. Soil analysis was taken before experiment initiation. Ten eggplant cultivars were transplanted on both living-mulch and control (woven-polyethelene mulch) plots on 4 March 1993. Weekly or bi-weekly harvests were conducted for six months. beginning on 19 May 1993. In addition plant height and canopy dimensions were determined on 16 April. and 10 Nov. Plant growth was monitored throughout the experiment. Soil samples were taken from the eggplant rhizosphere, hare-ground and in Rhodes grass monoculture, for nematode count determinations. Soil samples were also taken for nutrient determination after completion of the experiment. Overall yields were greater in the polyethelene mulch than in the living mulch plots. A differential response was observed on the response of cultivars to cropping system. However the most vigorous cultivars performed well in both systems. The living mulch system showed potential for nematode management in eggplant agroecosystems.

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