Mulching Options for Sweet Corn (2006) - 3 pages
Germination and early growth of sweet corn can be enhanced by the soil warming provided by
plastic mulches. Clear plastic provides the greatest degree of soil warming but weed growth can be a problem under clear mulch. Wavelength selective (IRT) mulches provide almost as much soil warming as the clear plastic while also providing a high degree of weed control. Planting corn through any type of plastic mulch requires specialized machinery. A lower-cost option used by some growers is to create a shallow trench, and then to seed the corn into the trench using standard seeding equipment. Clear plastic mulch is then laid over the seeded rows. The trench provides sufficient space for the corn seedlings to develop for a week or two within the greenhouse-like environment provided by the clear mulch. The plastic must be removed before temperatures in the trench become excessive.
This trial evaluated the performance of sweet corn on various mulching treatments.
Materials/Methods - The trial was conducted in 2006 at the University of Saskatchewan
Horticulture Field Research Facility in Saskatoon. The heavy clay soil at the test site was
prepared by rotovating one week prior to laying the mulch and seeding the crop. The treatments tested were;
1) Crop mechanically seeded using a push type small plot seeder. No mulch used
2) Crop mechanically seed into a trench (ca 30cm wide * 10cm deep) cut by hand.
Clear plastic mulch (1.1 mil) then laid over the trench
3) Crop hand seeded through clear plastic mulch (1.1 mil)
4) Crop hand seeded through IRT mulch (1.1 mil)
The cultivars tested were ‘Navajo’ (early maturing Se type) and ‘Fantastic’ (later maturing Sh2 type). For each mulch treatment, each cultivar