Integration of mulching and row spacing on weed management in Green Pepper varieties
Ocharo, Edgar N.
Korir, Nicholas K.
Gweyi-Onyango, Joseph P.
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A field experiment was conducted at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Alupe Research Farm, Busia County for two cropping seasons during the year 2015 to determine the impact of row spacing and mulching materials on weed management of two green pepper varieties. The two varieties California Wonder and Yolo Wonder were sown in a randomized complete block design in factorial arrangements, comprising three-row spacing treatments and four mulching materials then replicated thrice. The row spacing were; 30, 40 and 50 cm whereas the mulching materials were; black plastic mulch, transparent plastic mulch, straw mulch and bare soil which was the control. Data collected was subjected to SAS statistical software for analysis and means separated using LSD at P≤0.05. Significant differences (p≤0.05) were observed between the treatment combination of mulch and row spacing in the fresh and dry weed biomass, weed species density per m2 and the weed growth vigor. The highest fresh weed biomass (5008 g.m-2) was elicited by the control mulch treatment at the widest row spacing during the long rains season while the lowest (188 g.m-2) was observed in the black plastic mulch at the narrow row spacing of 30 cm. The weed species density was highest (7) in the control at 40 cm row spacing with the lowest elicited in the black plastic mulch at the 40 cm row spacing (1.7) during the short rain seasons. The weed growth vigor was highest in all the control mulch treatments at 30 cm row spacing while the lowest vigor was in the black plastic mulch which was closely followed by the transparent mulch at the various row spacings. The competitiveness of sweet pepper with weeds can be significantly enhanced by using black plastic as mulch under narrow row spacing with an optimum of 30 cm.