Mulching Soil to Increase Yield and Manage Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) Fields: Influence of Season and Plastic Thickness


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


Cucumber, Helicotylenchus erythrinae, Nonparasitic Nematodes, Plastic Mulch, Rotylenchulus reniformis, Season, Soil and Leaf Nutrients, Soil Solarization, Temperature


Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of mulching soil with clear plastic at different periods of the year, and also of mulching with two thicknesses of plastic on cucumber growth, yield, foliar concentrations of total nitrogen or ammonium, phosphorus, and potassium, soil concentrations of total nitrogen or nitrate, phosphate, and potassium, and rhizosphere population densities of nematodes. Growth of plants in mulched plots often exceeded that in control plots. Yields from plots mulched with 0.4-mm-thick plastic for five weeks, commencing December 1, 1995, and for six weeks, commencing March 18, July 3, and August 2, 1996, and planted immediately after mulching, were greater than those from nonmulched plots. Yields from plots mulched for six weeks with 0.2-mm-thick plastic, commencing August 2, 1996, were not significantly different from control yields presumably because the plastic deteriorated within four weeks. Rotylenchulus reniformis and Helicotylenchus erythrinae