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Special Projects

Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

Researchers and Extension specialists from three universities have joined together on this trans-disciplinary project, Biodegradable Mulches for Sustainable Specialty Crop Production (Reference No: 2014-51181-22382; funded by NIFA’s SCRI program). They are evaluating biodegradable plastic mulches (BDMs) in the field and measuring weed control, crop yield and quality, and impacts on soil health.

Crop Tunnels and Plastic MulchPhoto of a high tunnel

This trans-disciplinary research and extension project on Biodegradable Mulches for Specialty Crops Produced Under Protective Covers (Reference No: 2009-02484; funded by NIFA’s SCRI program) is determining whether experimental spunbond nonwovens and leading commercially-available biodegradable mulches are of similar quality to conventional black plastic in both high tunnel and open field specialty crop production, and can safely biodegrade in the soil.

In this 3-year study, a team of 17 scientists is evaluating biodegradable mulches in a tomato production system in three diverse regions of the U.S.: eastern Tennessee, central Texas, and western Washington. In addition, the team is evaluating the adaptability of six lettuce, strawberry and tomato cultivars to high tunnel production in these contrasting environments.

PNW Vegetable Extension GroupImage of PNW VEG logo

The coordination of the Pacific Northwest Vegetable Extension Group (PNW–VEG) is based at WSU NWREC in Mount Vernon.

The team is comprised of 23 vegetable specialists from Washington, Idaho and Oregon who contribute expertise in plant pathology, horticulture, weed science and entomology. The specialists organize vegetable extension information and events throughout the region via website, workshops, growing season conference calls and other activities.

Photo of Spotted Wing DrosophilaSpotted Wing Drosophila

Our small fruit research program is conducting laboratory screening studies to evaluate registered insecticides for small fruits for their effectiveness to control season long SWD.

Control recommendations for blueberry, strawberry and caneberries will be conservative due to the lack of insecticide experience this past season and limited control data from California’s 2009 field experiences.

Our lab continues to refine current integrated chemical and biological control programs to manage several key pests of small fruit that are problematic through their feeding behaviors on foliage, roots and as food contaminants at harvest.