Effect of Plastic Mulch, Floating Rowcovers, and Microtunnels on Insect Populations and Yield of Muskmelon

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  • 1 Fac. de Ciencias Biologicas y Agropecuarias, Univ. De Colima. Apartado postal 36, 28100, Tecoman, Colima, Mexico

This work was conducted for evaluate the influence of clear and black polyethylene mulches, used alone or combined with floating rowcover (FRC) and plastic perforated microtunnels, on insect populations, growth and yield of muskmelon. Treatments evaluated were 1) clear plastic + FRC, 2) polyethylene perforated microtunnel, 3) clear plastic + polyethylene not perforated microtunnel, 4) black plastic + FRC, 5) clear plastic, 6) black polyethylene, 7) clear plastic + oil, and 8) bare soil. Aphids and sweetpotato whitefly adults and nymphs were completely excluded by floating rowcovers while the plots covered. The export and national quality fruit yield was major in the mulched beds in relation to control. Clear polyethylene mulch + FRC increased number of fruit and export marketable fruit of cantaloupe (45.2% and 44.8%) with respect to black plastic + FRC, respectively. It is proposed that, under tropical conditions and under high insect stress, mulches combined with floating rowcovers should be selected for their effects on insects in addition to their effects on melon yield. Polyethylene microtunnels were found not economical for cantaloupe production in western Mexico.

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