Effect of Floating Rowcover and Transparent Mulch on Insect Populations, Virus Diseases, and Yield of Muskmelon

in HortScience

The effect of floating rowcover and transparent polyethylene mulch was evaluated on insect populations, virus disease control, yield, and growth of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cv. Durango in a tropical region of Colima state, Mexico. Aphids (Aphis gossypii Glover and other species), sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci Gennadius), beetles (Diabrotica spp.), and leafminer (Lyriormyza sativae Blanchard) were completely excluded by the floating rowcover while the plots were covered (until perfect flowering). Transparent mulch reduced aphids and whitefly populations, but did not show effect on leafminer infestation. The appearance of virus diseases of plants was delayed for 2 weeks by floating rowcover with respect to control (bare soil). Also, the transparent mulch reduced the virus incidence. The yield and number of fruit were positively influenced by floating rowcover and transparent mulch. Plot with transparent mulch combined with floating rowcover yielded nearly 4-fold higher (50.9 t·ha–1) than that plots with bare soil (13.1 t·ha–1). The yield from plots with floating row cover on bare soil was of 38.3 t·ha–1, while in the transparent mulch plots it was of 23.1 t·ha–1. The results of this work shows the beneficial effects of floating rowcover and transparent mulch in dry tropical conditions.

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