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  • Author or Editor: J.E. Polston x
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Field studies were conducted for three seasons, Fall 1994, Spring 1995, and Fall 1995, on the effect of ultraviolet (UV)-reflective films (mulches) on the silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii Bellows and Perring), the incidence of tomato mottle virus (ToMoV), and on fruit yields of staked, fresh-market tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The UV-reflective mulches were metallized aluminum (aluminum) and painted aluminum (silver) on either black or white plastic film. The aluminum and silver mulches were evaluated with and without a white (fall) or black (spring) 25-cm-wide painted band in the bed center. Controls were the conventional white (fall) or black (spring) polyethylene mulches. Highest reflected energy (μmol·m–2·s–1) to the plants at 15 cm from the mulch surface was measured on the aluminum mulch with or without a white painted band. Lowest energy was reflected from the white or black controls and from silver on black mulches with or without a black painted band. Whitefly populations in the fall were lower (P ≤ 0.05) on the aluminum than on the silver mulches. In the spring, when whitefly populations were low, whiteflies were more numerous on the black control and silver on white, than on the aluminum mulches. In the fall seasons, the proportion of plants with symptoms of ToMoV transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly were higher on the controls than on the aluminum mulch. In the spring, the proportion of plants with symptoms was not affected by mulch treatments. Yields in the fall were similar with UV-reflective or white control mulches. In the spring, fruit size and marketable yields were greater (P ≤ 0.05) on plants with silver on white mulch than on the control black mulch.

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