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Strawberry Yield over Red versus Black Plastic Mulch


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 171-174
    Received: Nov 17, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): kasper@florence.ars.usda.gov
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  1. M. J. Kasperbauer *a
  1.  aUSDA-ARS, Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center, 2611 W. Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501-1242 USA


Plastic mulches are frequently used in raised-bed culture of strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch) to conserve water, control weeds with less herbicides, and keep fruit clean. The most commonly used plastic mulch color is black. It was hypothesized that a specially formulated red plastic mulch that reflects a higher far-red to red photon ratio could regulate photosynthate allocation enough to increase yield of strawberry. Yields over the red plastic (SRM-Red) were compared with those over standard black plastic in field experiments at a research center and on a commercial strawberry farm. Yield per plant and size per berry were greater over the red than over the black plastic at both locations. The yield advantage of red mulch relative to black occurred whether the red plastic was placed directly over the soil or over a layer of black plastic. It is concluded that strawberries were larger over the new red plastic mulch because reflected far-red and red light affected phytochrome-mediated allocation of photosynthate, and more was directed to developing fruit.

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