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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1268: XI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates and I International Symposium on Nettings and Screens in Horticulture

Preliminary study of the behavior of a courgette crop grown under photoselective shade nets

Authors:   F.M. del Amor, A. Gálvez, M. Romero, G. Otalora, J. López-Marín
Keywords:   Cucurbita pepo, zucchini, fruit, radiation, sunburn
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1268.46
The application of new plastic shading nets with special optical properties represents a new approach to improve the use of solar radiation in agricultural crops. These nets have different percentages of transmission, absorption and reflection of light. In this work, the behavior of a courgette (Cucurbita pepo ssp. pepo) crop grown under photoselective shade nets was evaluated. Although courgette, like watermelon and melon, is a plant that is resistant to high temperatures, this species was used here as it has been demonstrated in other species that the use of photoselective nets can improve their performance and quality. In this first trial with courgette, four walk-in tunnel-type structures were covered with photoselective screens of distinct colors (red, pearl, silver and black) and were compared to an uncovered structure. Vegetative parameters - such as the evolution of the leaf and of the growth of the plant, as well as the fresh and dry weights of the leaves, stem and whole plant - were analyzed, in addition to the weight and number of fruits plant‑1. These first results show that the crop grown with the red net was more productive than the crops grown under a pearl or silver net or under control conditions in the open air, the yield being twice that of the plants grown under the black net. Regarding the number of fruits, there were no significant differences between the nets and open-air cultivation, the number being lowest with the black net.

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