Master of Science (MS)
Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences
Field studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of high tunnels (HT) and spunbonded polyester row covers (RC) on tomato plant growth and yield during the spring growing season. High tunnels significantly increased minimum, mean and maximum air and soil temperatures and high tunnels used in combination with row covers had the highest minimum, mean, and maximum air and soil temperatures. The minimum air and soil temperature for the 3 coldest days each season were highest in the combination high tunnel and row cover treatment and growing degree days were highest with this treatment. Plants in high tunnels grew faster as indicated by higher growth rates compared to plants in the no tunnel treatments. At the end of harvest, leaf area of plants in high tunnels was higher compared to those without. Plants in the combination HT+RC treatment had higher fresh and dry weights compared to RC treatment at the last harvest and harvest index was the lowest in the combination treatment at both harvests. The high tunnel treatment had a higher early marketable yield compared to the plastic mulch (control). Total marketable yield was highest in the HT treatment and lowest in the HT+RC treatment. The combination treatment of high tunnel and row covers increased fruits in the small size category and decreased the number of large size fruit. The HT treatment showed economic benefit when sufficient early and late yield were obtained.
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Takeuchi, Koji, "The Effect of High Tunnels and Row Covers on Tomato Plant Growth and Production in Louisiana" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 1870.
Carl E. Motsenbocker