Journal article
Aspects of straw mulching in organic potatoes - I. Effects on microclimate, Phytophthora infestans and Rhizoctonia solani



Publication Details
Authors:
Döring, T.; Heimbach, U.; Thieme, T.; Finckh, M.; Saucke, H.
Publication year:
2006
Journal:
Nachrichtenblatt- Deutschen Pflanzenschutzdienstes Braunschweig
Pages range:
73-78
Volume number:
58
ISSN:
0027-7479

Abstract
The application of straw mulch in potatoes is a possible strategyfor soil erosion control, virus control and reduction of post-harvestsoil nitrate losses. In this study, the effects of mulching onseverity of late blight (Phytophthora infestans [MONT.] DE BARY)and black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani KÜHN) were assessed in organicallymanaged field experiments over three years at foursites in Germany. Late blight severity was assessed in 15 of theexperiments as percentage of infected leaf area or percentage ofleaves with late blight lesions. Black scurf on harvested tuberswas assessed on 100 to 220 tubers per plot in 18 experiments. Inaddition, effects of straw mulch on air temperature, relative humidityand evaporation in the potato stand were measured in twoof the experiments. Straw mulch had no significant effect on lateblight severity in most of the experiments, but a trend of lateblight reduction through the application of straw mulch was observedin 13 out of 15 experiments. Black scurf was not influencedby straw mulch, with effects being non-significant in 16out of 17 experiments. Effects of straw mulch on microclimatewithin the crop canopy were dependent on the time of the day,with the air in mulched plots being slightly moister and cooler atnight and dryer and warmer during the day. This effect was pronouncedin the fortnight directly after mulching and became lessmarked in the period four to six weeks thereafter. In one experimenta consistent decrease of evaporation was observed overfour weeks.

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