Title: Soil mulch experiment
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Title: Soil mulch experiment
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Creator: Ozaki, H. Y.
Publisher: Plantation Field Laboratory, University of Florida
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Bibliographic ID: UF00076596
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Plantation Field Laboratory Mimeo Report PFL 65-6


6K(Q


SI SOIL MULCH EXPERIMENT/

H. Y. Ozaki27

EXPERIMENT: Soil Mulch Experiment With Peppers, 927-1139-II-1964

OBJECT: To determine effect of petroleum mulch, black polyethylene, and an
elastomeric polymer emulsion on plant growth and on fertilizer retention.
Several rates and methods of fertilization were compared under black poly-
ethylene plastic.

SUOMARY: Petroleum mulch in strips (Trea.tment 6) significantly increased
early fancy yields of pcepero from 4 hxo r)e-cs, It also produced the highest
fancy yields from 4 harvests but only significantly over the 3 lowest yielding
treatments.

Black polyethylene soil mulch (1/2 fertilizer, 156 N and 155 K (186 K20),
(Treatment 5) produced the highest total and marketable yields from 4 harvests.
It increased marketable yields over the yields from concentrated fertilizer
under black polyethylene mulch (4), petroleum mulch, fertilized with 1 appli-
cation (1,8) and the check (2d) fertilized with 1 application.

Petroleum mulch resulted in the highest daily maximum soil temperatures,
and black polyethylene resulted in highest daily minimum soil temperatures.

LOCATION: Plantation Field Laboratory

SOIL TYPE: Pompano fine sand, 1.5-2.0 foot water table.

TREATMENTS:

1. Petroleum mulch 2054
a. 600 gallons per acre
1) 4 feet wide
b. Encap EAP 2054
1) Esso Research & Engineering Company
c. Fertilizer applied in trenches for plastic and on top of
beds.
2. Petroleum mulch 2011
a. 1200 gallons per acre
1) 4 feet vide

c. Fertilizer applied in trenches and on top of beds
2d. Check no mulch
a. All fertilizer applied at planting

1/ This presentation of the results of studies with soil mulch was prepared for
research and industry. Results herein neither constitute nor imply recom-
mendation of any particular mulch.
Grant-in-aid by Esso Research and Engineering Company, Products Research Div.
2/ Assistant Horticulturist, Plantation Field Laboratory, University of Florida


Y 4


May, 1965









3. Black polyethylene mulch
a. 165 mil plastic mulch
b. 5 feet wide
c. Holes cut every nine inches for emergence of pepper seed-
lings.
d. Fertilizer applied, in trenchess cut for plastic and on top
S: of *beds.
4. Black polyethylene mulch
a. Most of fertilizer applied between the 2 rows and top of the
bed.
5. Black polyethylene
a. 1/2 of regular amount of fertilizer applied in Treatments
3 & 4, and all applied between the 2 rows.
6. Petroleum mulch 2011 in strips
a. 600 gallons per acre
1) 8 inches wide
b. Encap, EAP 2011
c. Split fertilizer application
7. Elastomeric polymer emulsion
a. 125 gallons mulch was applied per acre in strips 8 inches wide.
b. Soil-Set in 1 9 water dilution
1) Alco Oil and Chemical Corporation, Consumer Products
Div., Trention Ave. and Willira St., Philadelphia,Pa,
c. Split fertilizer application
8. Petroleum mulch 2011
a. 600 gallons
1) 4 feet wide
b. Encap 2011
c. All fertilizer applied at planting
9. Check
a. No mulch
b. Fertilizer application at biweekly and monthly intervals
FERTILIZER: A total of 1500 pounds of high calcic lime per acre was broad-
cast and disked in prior to planting.
"' The fertilizers for Treatments 1, 2, 2d, 3 and 8 were applied immediately
after a rain. A total of 312 pounds of N, 63,6 pounds of P (148 P205) and
285 pounds of K (342 K 0) per acre was applied. A total of 600 pounds of
6-5.3-5-0.06B (N-P-K-B) (6-12-6-0.2) was banded 3 inches from the seed row and
600 pounds was banded 5 inches from the seed row in 4 bands. In addition,
1200 pounds of 10-0-8.3 (10-0-10) was banded 8 inches from the seed row, and
1200 pounds was applied in the furrow for the plastic. All bed shoulders were
cut to form a trench for the laying of plastic.

For Treatment 4, most of the fertilizer was applied at planting between
the 2 rows and on top of the bed. A total of 600 pounds of 6-5.3-5-0.06B
(6-12-6-0.2B203) was banded 3 inches on both sides of the row and 600 pounds
4 inches from the seed row and between 2 rows at seeding. Also, 2400 pounds
of 10-0-8.3 (10-0-10) was banded in 4 bands 8 inches from the seed row.

For Treatment 5, most of the fertilizer was applied between the 2 rows,
600 pounds of 6-5.3-5-0.06B (6-12-6-0.2o203) was banded from 3 inches on both
sides of the seed row. Also, 1200 pounds of 10-0-8.3 (10-0-10) was applied
between the 2 rows in the middle of the bed.












For Treatments 6, 7, and 9; the fertilizer was applied in split applica-
tions. A total of 600 pounds of 6-5.3-5-0.06B (6-12-6-0.2B203) was applied
3 inches from the seed row. .'Also, 600 pounds was applied 4 inches from both
sides of the seed row at seeding time. In addition 600 pounds of 10-0-8.3
(10-0-10) was applied at monthly intervals. The N-K fertilizer was split in
2 and 4 band applications.'. The 2 bands were placed on the outside of the
rows, and the 4 bands were,placed on both sides of the seed row. Each
application was placed 2.inches further away, on outside, from previous appli-
cations.

One of the 2 rows of all plots was fertilized in mid-February with 600
pounds of 0-4.4 P and 8.3 K (0-10-10) per acre. The field crew inadvertently
fertilized one row of Treatments 6, 7, and 9 with 0-4.4-8.3 (the 0-4.4-8.3
was delivered in a commercial load of 10 N-0-8.3 K fertilizer). The extra
fertilizer for the back polyethylene plastic plots was dropped at the bottom
of the water furrow. It is doubtful whether the fertilizer had any effects
in the plastic plots. The plan was only to apply 260 pounds of K (312 K20)
but the extra fertilizer increased the total K applied to .285 (342 K20).

PLANTING: Each plot, 0.00156 acre, consisted of a single 68-inch bed, 12.5
feet long. Each pepper plot was separated by guard beds. Two rows of peppers
were sown on each bed. Early Calwonder pepper seeds were sown with a Planet
Junior planter, set at hole 15 and the 5th notch (3/4 inch depth) of the regu-
lator. Plants were thinned to a nine-inch spacing. Only a 10 foot section,
0.0013 acre, of each bed was harvested.

PESTICIDE TREATMENTS: Diphenamide (N, N-dimethyl -2, 2-diphenylacetamide)
was applied at the rate of 4 pounds of active material per acre. The 5 pounds
of 80% material per acre was applied with a John Bean pump sprayer with two
8001 Teejet nozzles.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Randomized complete block with 6 replications.

LOG: Limed: 1/7/64.
Fertilized: N-P-K: 1/9/64, 0-4.4 P-8.3 K: 2/14. 10 N-0-8.3 K: 1/9. Trts.
6, 7, 9: 2/17, 3/12, 4/13, 5/6.
Seeds sown: 1/9/64.
Windbreaks sown: 1/9/64.
Herbicide applied: 1/10/64.
Petroleum mulch applied: 1/10/64.
Black polyethylene placed: 1/11/64. Holes cut: 1/16/64.
Elastomeric polymer emulsion sprayed: 1/13/64.
Thermometers installed: 2/7. Also resprayed petroleum mulch plots where
thermometers placed in mulch plots.
Thinned plants: 3/6.
Pod harvests: First: 5/8/64. Last of 4: 6/11/64.
Leaf sampled: 5/28/64.

DISCUSSION AND RESULTS:

The 1963-64 winter growing season was characterized by cold weather, one of
the coldest on record. The average daily minimum temperatures were: 56.1, 52.8,
64.4, 68.0 and 67.7 degrees F. for the period from January through May, 1964,
respectively. The average daily maximum temperatures were: 74.3, 75.0, 81.8,


-- -- rn~~7 .- -












83.9 and 84.8 degrees F. from January through May, 1964, respectively.

Many rains of 0.75 inch or greater intensity during a 24-hour period fell
during the growing season. On January 13, 1964, a 0.77 inch rain fell, but
a 2.0 inch rain fell on February 5. Although no heavy rain fell in March, a
0.91'and 2.59 inch rain fell on April 29 and 30, respectively. May was charac-
'terized by heavy rains. Totals of 1.64, 2.86, 6.11 and 1.09 inches of rain
fell on May 2, 15, 21, and 22, respectively.

Several sand blasts occurred in February resulting in some foliage injury
in all plots. On February 6 and 8 strong winds blew. The Miami station
reported gusts to 70 MPH on February 8. No large differences in injury were
observed among treatments.

Petroleum mulch 2054 (Treatment 1) and petroleum mulch 2011 (6) resulted in
a slightly better pepper plant stand than the check stand. The stand was rated
visually for the best growth in each replication in late January, 1964.
Weeds were not controlled in the petroleum mulch plots without hand weeding.
In order to keep the petroleum mulch in a continuous sheet a long period, the
weeds were cut off at the soil surface with a knife for several months.

The black polyethylene mulch delayed germination. The delay was probably
due to the 0.77 inch rain of January 13 wetting the soil on other plots while
the holes were not cut in the black polyethylene until after the rain.

The 600 gallon petroleum mulch treatments (1,6,8) resulted in slightly
heavier weight of young plants than the check plants (2d, 9) at the transplant
age (thinning stage). And the 1200 .allon petroleum mulch treatment (2) reduced
the weight of the transplants below the weight of the plants from the 600
gallon petroleum mulch plots (8). Table 1 contains the data for weight of plants
thinned at approximately 2 months of age.

Care had to be used when chopping the plants in the petroleum mulch plots
to a final stand because too much exattion on the hoe resulted in chunks of
petroleum mulch pulling plants desired to be left for final plant stand. A
six inch gooseneck hoe was used todiock the plants in groups every 9 inches,
and the plants were finally thinned by hand to 1 plant per hill.

The black polyethylene treated plots produced a small weight of transplants
because 2.5 inch diameter holes were cut only every 9 inches for seedlings
to emerge.

Four harvests of pepper pods were made. The first harvest was made in early
May, 1964, 120 days after sowing of seeds; and the last harvest was made a
month after the first harvest. The first harvest should have been a little
earlier, as indicated by a few pods turning to a greenish-brown color. Table
1 contains the pepper pod yield data for total (including culls), U. 8. fancy,
and marketable (fancy / U. S. #1) grades.

Petroleum mulch applied in strips 8 inches wide (6) with split fertilizer
applications, increased the early yield of U. S. fancy pod yields from the
first harvest above the yields from all other treatments in this study at the
1% level of statistical significance. The mean yields were tested for signi-
ficance at the 5 and 1% level by Duncan's Multiple Range Test. Petroleum


-4-








mulch also resulted in the highest yield of marketable (U. S. fancy / U. S.
#l) pods from the first harvest outyielding all except 2 treatments, elasto-
meric polymer emulsion (7) and petroleum mulch 2054, at the 5% level. The means
followed by the same letter are not significantly different from each other.

Petroleum mulch in strips (6) increased the fancy pod yields from 4 har-
vests over the yields of petroleum mulch (both 2011 and 2054) broadcast
with 1 fertilizer application (8,1) and check with 1 fertilization (2d). Pro-
bably the fertilizer was leached by heavy rains in the broadcast mulch treat*
ments,

The black polyethylene mulch with 1/2 of the regular fertilizer (5) pro-
duced the highest yield of total and marketable (U. S. fancy / U. S. #1) pods
from 4 harvests. However, it only significantly outproduced in total yields
the check plots fertilized with all of the fertilizer applied at planting (2d).
It also increased the marketable pod yields from 4 harvests above the yields
from concentrated fertilizer under plastic (4), both petroleum mulches (2011
and 2054), broadcast with 1 fertilizer application (1 and 8), and the check
fertilized 1 time only (2d). The other differences for total, fancy and mar-
ketable yields are indicated by Duncan's Multiple Range Test in Table 1

Petroleum mulch probably increased early yields by increasing the tempera-
ture of the soil during the daylight hours. Tempscribe Temperature Recorders
with bulb-type elements were installed 3 weeks after sowing of seeds. The
petroleum mulch was resprayed on the areas disturbed where the bulb was
buried 2 inches below the soil surface. In addition, the black polyethylene
mulch was patched with black polyethylene mending tape over the slit made to
bury bulbs in the plots.

Broadcast petroleum mulch (2011) treatment 8, increased the daily maxi-
mum soil temperatures, especially early in the growing season, over the maxi-
mum soil temperature of the check (9) and black polyethylene (3) plots. Pet-
roleum mulch increased soil temperature in approximately 85 times out of 107
complete daily comparisons from III and VI replications. As the season pro-
gressed, the plants shaded the soil most of the time. Table 2 contains the
early growing season data for comparisons of ranges of daily maximum soil
temperatures for check, black polyethylene and petroleum mulch from 2/7 to
3/11/64.

Black polyethylene soil mulch (3) decreased the daily maximum soil tempera-
ture below the check (9) temperatures.

Although black polyethylene soil mulch produced the lowest daily maximum
soil temperatures, it resulted in the highest daily soil minimum temperatures
recorded for all 3 treatments in 2 replications of black polyethylene, pet-
roleum mulch, and check, Also, 24 readings were equal to the highest readings
recorded by another treatment or by the other 2 treatments. Table 2c contains
the data for range in differences for the early growing season.

The soil temperature differences may have been partially due to the water
table. Replication III was on a slightly higher soil elevation which resulted
in a slightly lower water table. In Replication III, black polyethylene mulch


__.__


~






-6-

(treatment 3) resulted in highest daily minimum temperatures in 16 out of
3$ complete comparisons from 2/38 to 3/27, 1965; but in Replication VI, only
8 out of 22 comparisons. In Replication III, petroleum mulch resulted in
only 4 out of 38 highest daily minimum soil temperatures. It had the highest
minimum in Replication VI for 5 out of 22 days. The check had the highest
minimum temperature in 8 out of 34 comparisons in Replication III, but 0 out
of 22 comparisons in Replication VI.

The high seasonal yields produced from the black polyethylene may also
have been due to the prevention of leaching of fertilizer by heavy February
and April rains described earlier. This was indicated in general by the
green color of foliage of the black polyethylene plots, in contrast with the
yellowish green color of the others in mid-June.








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Table 2a. The range in degrees F. and the number of days that check soil
temperaturerwas higher than soil temperature from black polyethylene plots,
from 2/7 to 3/11/64, from Replications III and VI.
Degree F. Temperature Difference
0 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 1-12-and above


Rep. III 0

Rep..VI. 1


0

S8


2b. The range in degrees F.
maximum temperature was


and number of days that petroleum mulch soil
higher than check between 2/7/64 and 3/9/64.


Degree F. Temperature Difference
0 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8


9-10


11-12 and above


Rep. III

Rep. VI


2c. Number of days that black polyethylene (3) resulted in higher daily mini-
mum temperatures, with the range in degrees F., than check (9) tempera-
tures from 2/7 to 3/11/64.


Treatment 9
higher than 3
Rep.IV 5


Rep.VI 0


Degree F. Temperature Difference
0 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10
2 6 4 1 1


1 4 5


11-12 and above


4 3-


2d. Number of days that petroleum mlch resulted
soil temperatures, with the range in degrees
from 2/7 to 3/11/64.


in higher daily minimum
F., than check temperatures,


Treatment 9
higher than 3


Degree F. .Temperature Difference
1-2 3-4 5-6., 7-8


9-10 11-12 and above


Rep. III 11


Rep. VI


15 3

0 2


_~_____~___~__ __~_~


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