Thick Grass Mulching Improves Soil Moisture and Weed Control Without Improving Yield and Quality Of Container Grown Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) Under Plastic Tunnel Conditions

Journal of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences (JEAS). Ahmad et al., 2019. Volume 18: 29-37

Open Access – Research Article

Thick Grass Mulching Improves Soil Moisture and Weed Control Without Improving Yield and Quality Of Container Grown Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) Under Plastic Tunnel Conditions

Beatrice Mwende Mutisya 1, George Mbira Kere 1,*
1 School of Agriculture and Biotechnology, University of Kabianga, Kericho, Kenya

Abstract: Mulching is a common practice in tomato production both under protected and field conditions. Container grown tomato production is rapidly gaining popularity among greenhouse tomato growers in Kenya. Although mulching is known to conserve water and reduce weed menace in tomato production, little is currently documented on effect of grass mulching rate on yield and growth of container grown tomatoes under plastic tunnel conditions. The main objective of the study was to investigate the effect of mulching depth on growth and yield of container grown tomatoes under plastic tunnel conditions. The experimental design was randomized complete block design replicated three times. The treatments consisted of four mulching depths; no mulch, 5 cm, 7 cm and 10 cm. Data was collected on growth, yield and yield components and weed density. The data was subjected to analysis of variance at P =0.05 using MINITAB statistical software and significant means separated using Tukeys at P = 0.05. Mulching with grass 7 and 10 cm depths significantly delayed days to 50% flowering. Total tomato yield was highest when no mulch was applied. Fruit quality (total soluble solids, total soluble solids: titratable acidity) were significantly highest with no mulch. The depressed yield and quality of under higher grass mulching rates could be attributed to reduced rhizospheric temperature. Thick grass mulching depth significantly reduced weed density per unit area. Grass mulching depths significantly sustained high and low soil moisture and temperature respectively. The depressed yield Grass mulching above 7 cm depth is detrimental to container grown Cherry tomato under greenhouse conditions. Further investigation is required to understand the interactive effect of mulching depth and irrigation schedule in container grown tomatoes.
Keywords: Water conservation, Cherry tomato, grass mulch, plastic tunnel.

*Corresponding author: George Mbira Kere

Cite this article as:

Mutisya, B.M. and G.M. Kere. 2019. Thick grass mulching improves soil moisture and weed control without improving yield and quality of container grown tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) under plastic tunnel conditions. Journal of Environmental & Agricultural Sciences. 18:29-37. [Abstract] [View Full-Text] [Citations]

Copyright © Mutisya and Kere, 2019. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original author and source are appropriately cited and credited.

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