Effect of Soil Mulches and Herbicides on Production Economics of Warm Season Vegetable Crops in a Cool Climate

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  • 1 Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, S7N 5A8.

The efficacy and cost efficiency of using various plastic soil mulches in the production of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), corn (Zea mays L.) and muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) were examined over four growing seasons in Saskatchewan, Canada. Clear mulch with or without preemergent herbicides was compared with black or wavelength selective mulches. In all three crops, mulches enhanced yields relative to bare ground in most site-year combinations. Clear mulch usually produced the highest yields. Herbicides applied under the clear plastic provided effective weed control with no observable changes in product efficacy or toxicity to the crop. The weed control provided by the herbicides had no effect on yields in the clear mulch treatments. Consequently, clear mulch without added herbicide usually represented the most cost-effective production option for all three crops.

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