Agricultural mulches from plant waste constitute an ecological alternative due to their capacity to biodegrade and incorporate into the soil. This work aimed at evaluating, during a drought, the effects of a mat mulch, based on banana rachis and rice straw, on bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) production, and to characterize the material, both mechanically (traction resistance) and physical-chemically (water retention capacity, organic and inorganic components).
Two contrasting irrigation regimes were used to determine the effect of the mat mulch on edaphic and productive parameters such as plant height, basal stem diameter, number of fruits and flowers, harvest, plant biomass, macro- and micronutrients in leaves, weeds/m2, and soil temperature. Treatments with the mat mulch resulted in increased height, a number of fruits and flowers, biomass, and P, Zn and Cu concentrations. The mat mulch contributes to soil water retention, improves pepper agronomic variables response in plant’s height, basal stem diameter, and the number of flowers and fruits, especially with a low water irrigation regime.
Furthermore, a 95% reduction in weed/m2, and soil temperature (18 °C) compared to air temperature (26.8 °C) was found. The characteristics of the waste-based mat mulch in soils offer new possibilities for environmentally friendly, efficient, and sustainable agricultural practices.
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Hernández-Aranda, V.; Rojas-Tortolero, D.; Álvarez-Barreto, J.; Arias-Vega, C.; Proaño-Saraguro, J.; Portalanza-Chavarria, A.; Sosa, D. Characterization and Use of a Crop-Residue-Based Mat Mulch in the Production of Pepper (Capsicum annuum) during Dry Season. Agronomy 2021, 11, 1173. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061173