Influence of spunbond degradable floating row covers on microclimate modification and yield of field cucumber

Andrzej Kalisz, Piotr Siwek, Konrad Sulak

Abstract


In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in innovative plastic materials for use in horticulture. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of (bio)degradable floating covers (polylactide nonwoven ‒ PLA, and oxo-degradable polypropylene nonwoven with 0.1% iron stearate ‒ PP photo, both 20 g/m2) compared to the conventional PP nonwoven (control, 20 g/m2) on microclimate modification and yield of field-grown cucumber. The greatest PAR transmittance was recorded for the control nonwoven (83%), while the degradable materials transmitted 8% less radiation. Maximum soil surface temperatures were the highest under the PLA nonwoven, but minimum temperatures ‒ under the oxo-degradable fleece. The mean temperature under the oxo-degradable material was comparable to the control, while PLA increased the soil temperature by 1.8 °C, on average. The yield from cucumber plants covered with degradable materials was similar to that from the plants cultivated under the conventional oil-based nonwoven fleece. There were no significant changes in dry weight and soluble sugar content in cucumber fruits in 2013; however, the degradable nonwovens decreased these parameters in 2012. The lifespan of the oxo-degradable nonwoven was limited only to one growing season, thus the durability of the polymer must be increased. Polylactide nonwoven can be a sustainable ecological alternative to conventional non-degradable PP covers.

Keywords


Cucumis sativus L.; degradable polymers; direct covers; iron stearate photoactivator; polylactide

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References


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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2018162-11968