Matted Mulch as an Alternative to Herbicide in Strawberries, Melons and Tomatoes

1996 Annual Report for FNC96-151

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1996: $4,393.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:

Matted Mulch as an Alternative to Herbicide in Strawberries, Melons and Tomatoes

Summary

“With the phase-out of methyl bromide, there are few herbicides that work well with strawberries. As the North Central region continues to increase fruit and vegetable production, herbicide use in vegetables and fruits continues to be a consumer concern. If an economical replacement for herbicides can be found that also retains moisture, adds some nutrients to the soil and is biodgradable, everyone will benefit.”

Objectives: To find an alternative to methyl bromide for weed control in strawberries. Raised beds will be prepared in the fall with various mulch experiments on tomotoes, melons and strawberries. The project coordinator proposes to compare weed counts, soil temperature and plant vigor of mulched and fumigated plots.

Results: The project has been extended for an additonal year. Extremely dry weather in June and July, after a very wet spring, had an adverse effect on all of the plots. Production in the straw mulch plots was somewhat less than conventional till or plastic mulch plots.