AbstractAn experiment was conducted on February 1959 to evaluate the economic use of black polyethylene mulch paper for tomato production in Puerto Rico. Four treatments and five varieties were used in a randomized block design with four replications. The combined treatments used were de scribed as follow: 1. Mulching, no staking, no weeding; 2. no mulching, no staking, weeding; 3. no mulching, no staking, no weeding; 4. no mulching, staking, weeding. The varieties included in this trial were Rutgers, Platillo, Plamar, and the local breeding lines P.R. 123 and P.R. 126. The results of this study indicate that black polyethylene suppressed all weed growth except for nutgrass, Cyperus rotundus L., but its cost per acre when compared with regular weeding remained a limiting factor. A significant decrease in yield was detected in treatment 1 when compared with treatment 4 at the 5-percent level. Plastic mulching apparently did not have any remarkable effect in reducing the incidence of soil fruit rot. Although the experiment was harvested during the rainy season, the total number of rotten fruits was very low and generally uniform among treatments. The fact that the variety X treatment interaction with respect to the weight and number of fruits was not significant, indicated that these varieties did not respond to any particular treatment. However, the Rutgers tomato had the poorest performance of all the varieties included in this trial. Black polyethylene increased soil temperature by 1°F. when compared with bare soil temperature at a depth of 2-4 inches.
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