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Universidade Federal de Lavras, Ciência e Agrotecnologia, (44), 2020

DOI: 10.1590/1413-7054202044006720



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Mulching materials and wetted soil percentages on zucchini cultivation

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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ABSTRACT Polyethylene mulch can cause serious problems in the environment. A promising alternative to polyethylene mulch is biodegradable mulch. Therefore, a two-year experiment was carried out with zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) during the cropping seasons of 2017 and 2018 in Southeast Brazil to investigate the effects of four soil mulching treatments (white polyethylene mulch: WP, black polyethylene mulch: BP, biodegradable mulch of brown recycled paper: RP and nonmulched: NM) and two wetted soil percentages (50 and 70% of the soil surface) using a randomized block design with five repetitions. The average water consumption of the zucchini was 157 mm in the WP treatment, 155 mm in the BP treatment, 155 mm in the WP treatment and 215 mm in the NM treatment. The yield was higher in the WP (78.1 ton ha-1) and BP (69.1 ton ha-1) treatments than in the RP (66.6 ton ha-1) or NM (52.4 ton ha-1) treatments. The daily thermal amplitude was lowest in the RP treatment (3.6-6.0 °C) and highest in the BP treatment (7.3-9.0 °C). The lower wetted soil percentage (50%) reduced water consumption (by 5-7%) and improved water-use efficiency (by 11%). Weeds, including Cyperus roduntus, were more efficiently controlled in the RP treatment than in the WP and BP treatments. In general, compared to the nonmulched treatment, mulches were effective in reducing weed infestation (95%), increasing yield (36%) and improving water-use efficiency (94%). RP, as an alternative to polyethylene mulch, can save water and control weeds in zucchini crops. These results represent useful information that extends the mulching options for technicians and farmers.