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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 2, p. 422-425

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Some Relationships of a Plastic Mulch to Sweet Corn Maturity1

  1. R. H. Andrew,
  2. D. A. Schlough and
  3. G. H. Tenpas2



Plastic mulch or polyethylene film has been used experimentally as a ground cover to hasten development for a number of crops. In this research attention was given to its potential use for sweet corn (Zea mays L.) as related to cultivar and insolation.

Two sweet corn hybrids with a 15-day range in relative maturity were grown in 2 years under a clear plastic mulch in northern Wisconsin for comparison with traditional culture at that location and in the south central part of the state. Soil temperatures at a 7.6 cm depth were recorded by thermographs with bulb elements and related to official air temperatures. The periods from planting until silking and harvest were measured in terms of days and thermal units.

Silking and harvest dates were advanced on the average by 6 days and up to 9 days with the use of a plastic ground cover. The effect of plastic was relatively greater during cool days, on minimum temperatures, and in the cool year. Its effect was greater earlier in the season and for tie smaller hybrid, because of less plant shading.

Fewer thermal units, although more days, were required to achieve comparable maturity at the northern as compared with the southern location in the cool year, but more thermal units as well as days were required at the northern location in the warm year. While maturity advanced more rapidly with increasing temperature, the advance was not directly commensurate with air temperature on a diurnal, seasonal, or locational basis.

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