The Effects of Color Plastic Mulches and Row Covers on the Growth and Production of Okra and Summer Squash
Type of DegreeThesis
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Okra [Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench‘Clemson Spineless’] and summer squash [Cucurbita pepo (L) ‘Prelude II’] was grown on an Orangeburg sandy loam soil in Shorter, AL. Okra and summer squash were direct seeded in single rows. The experiment consisted of twelve experimental treatments as follows: (1) Black plastic mulch (BPM) + spunbonded row cover (RC), (2) BPM, (3)White plastic mulch (WPM) + RC, (4) WPM, (5) Red plastic mulch (RPM) + RC, (6) RPM, (7) Bare soil (BS) + RC, (8) BS, (9) Silver plastic mulch (SPM) +RC, (10) SPM, (11) Blue plastic mulch (BLUPM) + RC, (12) BLUPM. Soil temperatures were five to seven degrees lower than air temperatures in all treatments. The use of darker colored plastic mulches increased early and total yield of summer squash and okra compared to bare soil with and without row cover. Increased soil and air temperatures did not always correlate to an increase in yield. Because of this finding it is believed that the plant’s phytochrome and blue light responses were activated by the colored mulches. Further studies need to be performed to have a better understanding of the effects of vegetable crops grown with row covers and various colored plastic mulches.