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Helpul Resources

Extension, USDA and University Sponsored Studies and Research Reports

Squash
Helpful Articles and Research Studies for Commercial and Organic Growers

Paper or Plastic...
Dan Goldmamer; Colorado State University; M.S. Soil Science

Evaluation of Organic Biodegradable Mulch in Cantaloupe Production...2012
Sandra Menasha, Cornell University Cooperative Research Extension


Summary Points form
Evaluation of Organic Biodegradable Mulch in Cantaloupe Production

  1.  Results from the trial show that there were no statistical differences in cantaloupe yield and fruit quality when grown under black plastic mulch or WeedGuardPlus® paper mulch Numerically, early yields were greater with the black plastic mulch compared to the WeedGuardPlus® which is likely due to the increased soil temperatures achieved with black plastic mulch (Table 2). However, the greatest total marketable yields were attained with the WeedGuardPlus®.
  2. The water wheel transplanter used to punch the holes in both the plastic and paper mulches did not present any difficulty in either situation. Also, there was no tearing of the paper mulch associated with the punching of holes
  3. Post-trial the WeedGuardPlus® degraded without difficulty and by October no traces of the WeedGuardPlus® could be found in the field.

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Paper Mulch Evaluation Study...
2008  Dr. Michael Orzolek; Penn State University Horticulture Research Center                   

Summary Points From 2008 Paper Mulch Evaluation Study

  1. When the press wheels on the mulch layer were angled, the paper mulch tore from the pressure exerted on the paper by the press wheel.  If the press wheels were perfectly parallel to the row direction, the paper did not tear. 
  2. Based on the crop yield of cantaloupe, eggplant and acorn squash, WeedGuardPlus (especially with the 5-5-5 incorporated into the paper mulch itself) performed as effectively as the non-degradable black plastic films in 2008.
  3. When WeedGuardPlus degraded before the vegetable crops growing on the mulch matured, weed competition was not a problem and did not affect either the yield or quality of the harvested crop.
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Comparison of Three Different WeedGuardPlus Paper Mulches and Black Plastic Mulch on the Production of Winter Squash... 2011
Dr. Frank Stonaker, Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Specialty Crops Program.
Dan Goldhamer Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Research Associate.

Summary Points from Comparison of Three Different WeedGuardPlus Paper Mulches and Black Plastic Mulch on the Production of Winter Squash

  1. There was no difference between WeedGuardPlus treatments and black plastic mulch in terms of yield per plant, average fruit weight or number of fruit per plant.

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Comparison of Two Different WeedGuardPlus Paper Mulches and Black Plastic Mulch on the Production of Onions and Broccoli...
2011
Dr. Frank Stonaker, Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Specialty Crops Program.
Dr. Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Professor and Extension Specialist of Entomology.
Dan Goldhamer Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Research Associate.

Summary Points from Comparison of Two Different WeedGuardPlus Paper Mulches and Black Plastic Mulch on the Production of Onions and Broccoli... 2011

  1. No difference in yields for both onions and broccoli between the WeedGuardPlus treatments and the black plastic mulch.
  2. Greater transplant survival rates in WeedGuardPlus treatments compared to the black plastic mulch for both onions and broccoli.
  3. Lower soil temperatures observed under the WeedGuardPlus compared to the black plastic mulch.

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Title: Evaluation of biodegradable mulch for weed control in organic vegetable production
... 2009
Carol Miles, Jonathan Roozen, Maggie Taylor, and Alice Riot. Vegetable Horticulture Program, WSU Mount Vernon NWREC

Summary Points from Evaluation of Biodegradable Mulch for Weed Control in Organic Vegetable Production

  1. Weed Guard Plus remained completely intact for 16 weeks after laying. Weed Guard Plus lost 10% of its integrity each week for two weeks, and approximately 2.5% a week for the next 5 weeks.
  2. There were no significant differences in total or marketable head number and weight (lbs) for both lettuce and cabbage due to mulch product.
  1. Average soil temperature under Weed Guard Plus was 3°F lower on average than under black plastic and 2°F lower than with no mulch.
  2. The rate of the lettuce and cabbage crop reaching maturity in the WeedGuardPlus treatment was slower than in the plastic mulch treatment, potentially due to lower soil temperatures under paper mulch.

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Deterioration of Potentially Biodegradable Alternatives to Black Plastic Mulches in Three Tomato Production Regions

Summary Points from Deterioration of Potentially Biodegradable Alternatives to Black Plastic Mulches in Three Tomato Production Regions

  1. In both the open field and in high tunnels in Knoxville Tennessee, Mount Vernon Washington, and Lubbock Texas, WeedGuardPlus performed just as well as black plastics and three other biodegradable plastic mulches at suppressing weeds and increasing yields.
  2. In the hotter climate of Lubbock Texas, total tomato yield was highest in the WeedGuardPlus treatment.
  3. Soil temperatures were the lowest in the WeedGuardPlus treatments. This lower soil temperature may have contributed to the higher tomato yields observed in Lubbock Texas.