INTEGRATED EFFECTS OF SOLARIZATION, SUNN HEMP COVER CROP, AND AMENDMENT ON NEMATODES, WEEDS, AND PEPPER YIELDS
Keywords:Capsicum annuum, Crotalaria juncea, integrated pest management, Meloidogyne incognita, Mesocriconema spp., ring nematodes, root-knot nematodes, sustainable agriculture
AbstractMcSorley, R., K.-H. Wang, and J. J. Frederick. 2008. Integrated effects of solarization, sunn hemp cover crop, and amendment on nematodes, weeds, and pepper yields. Nematropica 38:115-125. Two field experiments were conducted in north Florida, U.S.A., to examine the effects of cover cropping, solarization, and amendment on nematode populations, weeds, and pepper (Capsicum annuum) yields. Treatments involved two levels (+ or -) of sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea) cover crop, two levels of solarization, and two levels of amendment with dry sunn hemp residue added into transplant holes, for a total of 8 treatment combinations, replicated 6 times. Cover cropping reduced levels of ring nematodes (Mesocriconema spp.) but did not affect any other measured variables. Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) were unaffected by treatments except for a slight decrease in root galling resulting from amendment in the 2007 experiment. Solarization greatly decreased weed levels in both seasons, especially the high levels of crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) present in 2007. Pepper yields were unaffected by treatments in 2006 but were increased by solarization and amendment in 2007. Yield differences in the two seasons were due to the impact of managing much higher weed populations in 2007. In this regard, solarization was much more beneficial than a cover crop in the summer before fall vegetable production. Addition of amendment to planting holes along with pepper seedlings had a positive impact on plant growth and provided a method for introducing relatively small amounts of amendment (rather than broadcast over a large area) to a field site.