Effects of Plastic Mulches on Growth and Yield of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and on Nematode and Microbial Population Densities in the Soil


  • Phyllis L. Coates-Beckford
  • Jane E. Cohen
  • Laura R. Ogle
  • Christopher H. Prendergast


Cucumber, Fertilizer, Fungicide, Helicotylenchus Erythrinae, Microbial Population Densities, Nematicide, Nonparasitic Nematodes, Plastic Mulch, Rotylenchulus Reniformis, Soil Solarization, Temperature, Weeds


The growth and yield of three crops of cucumber and rhizosphere populations of soil nematodes were monitored in an experiment conducted on sandy loam soil which was (a) mulched with 0.4-mm-thick, clear or black plastic for five or nine weeks, (b) mulched then fertilized with 1 kg N:P:K (4:16:4)/plot, (c) not mulched and treated with 45 g Banrot 40WP/plot or 10 or 20 g Furadan 10G/plot at planting, (d) not mulched, but fertilized, (e) not mulched and not fertilized. In a second experiment, plots were mulched for four, six and eight weeks with clear or black plastic or not mulched. Ambient and soil temperatures were monitored during the mulching periods. Cucumber seedlings in the fertilized or nonfertilized plots which were mulched with either color of plastic often grew faster than those in the nonmulched plots. Plants from plots treated with fungicide or nematicide either had shoots which were shorter or of the same lengths as those from the nontreated plots. Plants from nonfertilize