Effect of Mulch Induced Hydrothermal Regime on Root Growth, Water Use Efficiency, Yield and Quality of Strawberry
Gupta R., Acharya C.L.
Department of Soil Science, Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur, H.P., 176062.
The effect of five different mulching materials, viz. transparent polyethylene, black polyethylene, pine needles, grass and Eupatorium and an unmulched control, on soil hydrothermal regime, root growth, water use efficiency and yield of strawberry was studied. All mulched treatments increased the minimum soil temperature at 5 cm depth. Transparent polyethylene raised the maximum soil temperature whereas pine needles and grass mulches lowered it. Black polyerhylene however did not alter the maximum soil temperature appreciably. All mulches were found effective in maintaining higher soil moisture regime. However, within mulched treatments, total\soil-water content up to 60 cm depth was higher under transparent polyethylene closely followed by black polyethylene. Black polyethylene induced higher root growth followed by pine needles, transparent polyethylene, grass. Eupatorium and unmulched control. Nutrient uptake was also higher under black polyethylene and least in unmulched plants. Water use efficiency was higher by 121, 86, 80 and 62 per cent, respectively, under black polyethylene, transparent polyethylene, pine needles and grass mulches over the unmulched control. Black polyethylene increased the yield of strawberry by 56 per cent over the unmulched control and producedfruits of bigger size, higher TSS, higher sugar and lower acidity as compared with the remaining mulched treatments.
Mulching, soil temperature, soil moisture, rooting density, water use efficiency.