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  • Author or Editor: Majid AghaAlikhani x
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Hamid Reza Rajablarijani, Bahram Mirshekari, Majid AghaAlikhani, Varahram Rashidi and Farhad Farahvash

The high vulnerability of sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. saccharata) to weed competition and the urgent reduction of the dependence on chemical herbicides are major challenges facing the agricultural community. To investigate the effects of plastic mulches on weed control and yields in sweet corn under different sowing dates, a 2-year experiment was conducted at Varamin, Iran, in 2010 and 2011. The mulch treatments included black plastic mulch, semitransparent biodegradable mulch, an unmulched weeded control, and an unmulched unweeded control. The sowing dates were 5 June, 20 June, and 6 July. Results revealed that delayed sowing (6 July) reduced weed dry weight by 51% and 41% compared with the 5 June sowing date in 2010 and 2011, respectively, without reducing crop yield. The black plastic mulch treatment had the lowest weed biomass. The sowing date × mulch interactions on kernel number per ear, length of ear, percentage of unfilled ear tip, and yield of sweet corn were statistically significant (P < 0.01) in both years. The maximum kernel number per ear (535) and the highest fresh ear yield (24,684 kg·ha−1) in 2010 were obtained on the 6 July sowing date under biodegradable mulch. The plants sown on 6 July produced the highest fresh kernel yield with the black plastic mulch (12,893 kg·ha−1) and unmulched weeded control (11,777 kg·ha−1) in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The highest percentage of unfilled ear tips in both years was observed in the unmulched unweeded plots sown on 5 June. According to our findings, to suppress the weeds and avoid the sweet corn yield loss in such a hot summer that we had, using the black plastic mulch and delayed sowing are recommended.