Biodegradable Mulches : Field Experiment Results from Finland

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201606092269
Title: Biodegradable Mulches : Field Experiment Results from Finland
Author: Islam, Md. Safiqul
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201606092269
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/163726
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Agroteknologi
Agrotechnology
Agroteknologia
Abstract: Mulching, as a cultivation technique, has been adopted since the early twentieth century in agriculture for improving various aspects of crop production. However, the use of mulching was boosted by the introduction of plastic mulch, which has been reported as a harmful substance to the farm environment. Therefore, the need for an environmentally benign mulch material is obvious. The present study investigated the effects of paper and biodegradable plastic mulches on the cucumber yield, soil temperature and moisture content (at 10 cm depth), and the control of weed growth in an agricultural field located at the University of Helsinki in Southern Finland. The degradability of mulches was also investigated. The null hypothesis was that all the mulches would have a similar effect on the abovementioned aspects. Four paper mulches, i.e., BP, KB, CK, and OB, accompanied by biodegradable mulch (BIO) and a bare soil (BG) treatment were under investigation. Each of these treatments had 4 replicates, and a randomized complete block design (RCBD) was adopted. Sensors were installed at 10 cm depth in each study plot to measure the soil temperature and moisture content. In addition, the experimental plots were watered by drip irrigation. All the attained data were analyzed using SPSS statistical software. The results of the study revealed noteworthy positive effects (P<0.05) of mulch application on cucumber yields together with soil temperature, early fruiting, and weed growth regulation compared to the un-mulched bare ground, exclusive of soil moisture content. The daytime soil temperature (DST) was higher than at night (NST), indicating a positive association of the mulch effect with plant growth and crop earliness. However, no suggestive improvement in soil moisture was found through mulch application during the study period. Edge degradation was only found for paper mulches during the study period, suggesting their environment friendliness. The CK and KB papers were the most effective and most environmentally positive mulch materials, and could be a suitable choice for Finnish vegetable growers. The findings of this study could assist paper manufacturers in improving the qualities of mulch papers regarding vegetable production. Future research aims at assessing the effects of mulches on the physiology of plants studied under mulched techniques together with the development of cheaper and more environmentally benign mulch materials.
Subject: Mulch
Cucumis sativus L.
MST
DST
NST
MSM
cucumber
yield
weed
soil temperature
soil moisture
degradation


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