Pest control-related problems jeopardize the advancement of our nation's vegetable industry. Because of the adverse effects of many fumigants. the grower is increasingly pressured to utilize sustainable. environmentally sound agricultural practices yet still maintain a marketable, blemish-free product.
The effects of wavelength selective mulches and three different fumigants on overall plant development and nematode control were studied in field grown, staked tomatoes. Plots were fumigated with methyl bromide. Telone II, or Telone C17. Within rows, mulch color was established by application of either white or red exterior enamel paint to the black plastic surface of polyethylene mulch. Reflective light from each mulch color was measured using a LiCor 1800 Spectroradiometer. Temperature below the mulch surface was monitored with a datalogger.
Prior to the first marketable harvest, plants grown on white mulch produced greater fruit weight and total dry weight than plants grown on black or red mulch. Total marketable yields, however. were not significantly different between the three mulches. Early and marketable yields from fumigated plots did not differ from control treatments. The lack of response due to fumigation may have been due to low initial nematode populations in the field.