Influence of spunbond degradable floating row covers on microclimate modification and yield of field cucumber

  • Andrzej Kalisz University of Agriculture in Krakow, Dept. Vegetable and Medicinal Plants, 29-Listopada 54, 31-425 Kraków
  • Piotr Siwek University of Agriculture in Krakow, Dept. Vegetable and Medicinal Plants, 29-Listopada 54, 31-425 Kraków
  • Konrad Sulak Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibres, Dept. Synthetic Fibres, M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 19/27, 90-570 Łódź
Keywords: Cucumis sativus L., degradable polymers, direct covers, iron stearate photoactivator, polylactide


In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in innovative plastic materials for use in horticulture. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of (bio)degradable floating covers (polylactide nonwoven ‒ PLA, and oxo-degradable polypropylene nonwoven with 0.1% iron stearate ‒ PP photo, both 20 g/m2) compared to the conventional PP nonwoven (control, 20 g/m2) on microclimate modification and yield of field-grown cucumber. The greatest PAR transmittance was recorded for the control nonwoven (83%), while the degradable materials transmitted 8% less radiation. Maximum soil surface temperatures were the highest under the PLA nonwoven, but minimum temperatures ‒ under the oxo-degradable fleece. The mean temperature under the oxo-degradable material was comparable to the control, while PLA increased the soil temperature by 1.8 °C, on average. The yield from cucumber plants covered with degradable materials was similar to that from the plants cultivated under the conventional oil-based nonwoven fleece. There were no significant changes in dry weight and soluble sugar content in cucumber fruits in 2013; however, the degradable nonwovens decreased these parameters in 2012. The lifespan of the oxo-degradable nonwoven was limited only to one growing season, thus the durability of the polymer must be increased. Polylactide nonwoven can be a sustainable ecological alternative to conventional non-degradable PP covers.


Download data is not yet available.


Briassoulis D, 2004. An overview on the mechanical behaviour of biodegradable agricultural films. J Polym Environ 12 (2): 65-81.

Briassoulis D, 2006. Mechanical performance and design criteria of biodegradable low-tunnel films. J Polym Environ 14 (3): 289-307.

Briassoulis D, Babou E, Hiskakis M, Kyrikou I, 2015. Analysis of long-term degradation behaviour of polyethylene mulching films with pro-oxidants under real cultivation and soil burial conditions. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22: 2584-2598.

Briassoulis D, Degli Innocenti F, 2017. Standards for soil biodegradable plastics. In: Soil Degradable Bioplastics for a Sustainable Modern Agriculture, Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology; Malinconico M (ed.). pp: 139-168. Springer-Verlag GmbH, Germany.

Cerne M, 1994. Different agrotextiles for direct covering of pickling cucumbers. Acta Hortic 371: 247-252.

Dantas MSM, Grangeiro LC, de Medeiros JF, Cruz CA, Da Cunha APA, 2013. Yield and quality of watermelon grown under nonwoven textile protection combined with plastic mulching. Rev Bras Eng Agríc Ambient 17 (8): 824-829.

Gimenez C, Otto RF, Castilla N, 2002. Productivity of leaf and root vegetable crops under direct cover. Sci Hortic 94 (1-2): 1-11.

Gordon GG, Foshee III WG, Reed ST, Brown JE, Vinson E, Woods FM, 2008. Plastic mulches and row covers on growth and production of summer squash. Int J Veg Sci 14 (4): 322-338.

Gutowska A, Jóźwicka J, Sobczak S, Tomaszewski W, Sulak K, Miros P, Owczarek M, Szalczyńska M, Ciechańska D, Krucińska I, 2014. In-compost biodegradation of PLA nonwovens. Fibres Text East Eur 22, 5 (107): 99-106.

Hanada T, 1991. The effect of mulching and row covers on vegetable production. Ext Bull ASPAC Food Fert Technol Centr 332: 1-22.

Ibarra L, Flores J, Díaz-Pérez JC, 2001. Growth and yield of muskmelon in response to plastic mulch and row covers. Sci Hortic 87 (1-2): 139-145.

Ibarra-Jiménez L, Quezada-Martín MR, de la Rosa-Ibarra M, 2004. The effect of plastic mulch and row covers on the growth and physiology of cucumber. Aust J Exp Agr 44 (1): 91-94.

Jakubowicz I, Yarahmadi N, Arthurson V, 2011. Kinetics of abiotic and biotic degradability of low-density polyethylene containing prodegradant additives and its effect on the growth of microbial communities. Polym Degrad Stab 96: 919-928.

John RP, Nampoothiri KM, Pandey A, 2006. Solid-state fermentation for L-lactic acid production from agro wastes using Lactobacillus delbrueckii. Proc Biochem 41: 759-763.

Kasirajan S, Ngouajio M, 2012. Polyethylene and biodegradable mulches for agricultural applications: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 32: 501-529.

Kołota E, Adamczewska-Sowińska K, 2011. Application of synthetic mulches and flat covers with perforated foil and agrotextile in zucchini. Acta Sci Pol, Hortorum Cultus 10 (4): 179-189.

Kottek M, Grieser J, Beck C, Rudolf B, Rubel F, 2006. World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Meteorol Z 15 (3): 259-263.

Kyrikou I, Briassoulis D, 2007. Biodegradation of agricultural plastic films: a critical review. J Polym Environ 15: 125-150.

Lichocik M, Owczarek M, Miros P, Guzińska K, Gutowska A, Ciechańska D, Krucińska I, Siwek P. 2012. Impact of PBSA (Bionolle) biodegradation products on the soil microbiological structure. Fibres Text East Eur 20, 6B (96): 179-185.

Lopez MV, 1998. Growth, yield and leaf NPK concentrations in crop-covered squash. J Sustain Agr 12 (4): 25-38.

Martín-Closas L, Costa J, Pelacho AM, 2017. Agronomic effects of biodegradable films on crop and field environment. In: Soil Degradable Bioplastics for a Sustainable Modern Agriculture, Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology; Malinconico M (ed.). pp: 35-65. Springer-Verlag GmbH, Germany.

Moreno DA, López-Lefebre LR, Víllora G, Ruiz JM, Romero L, 2001. Floating row covers affect Pb and Cd accumulation and antioxidant status in Chinese cabbage. Sci Hortic 89 (1): 85-92.

Moreno DA, Víllora G, Soriano MT, Castilla N, Romero L, 2005. Sulfur, chromium, and selenium accumulated in Chinese cabbage under direct covers. J Environ Manage 74: 89-96.

Olle M, Bender I, 2010. The effect of non-woven fleece on the yield and production characteristics of vegetables. Agraarteadus: J Agr Sci 1: 24-29.

Puchalski M, Krucińska I, Sulak K, Chrzanowski M, Wrzosek H, 2013. Influence of the calender temperature on the crystallization behaviors of polylactide spun-bonded non-woven fabrics. Text Res J 83 (17): 1775-1785.

Pulgar G, Moreno DA, Víllora G, Hernandez J, Castilla N, Romero L, 2001. Production and composition of Chinese cabbage under plastic rowcovers in southern Spain. J Hortic Sci Biotechnol 76 (5): 608-611.

Qashou I, Tafreshi HV, Pourdeyhimi B, 2009. An investigation of the radiative heat transfer through nonwoven fibrous materials. J Eng Fiber Fabr 4 (1): 9-15.

Rekowska E, Skupień K, 2007. Influence of flat covers and sowing density on yield and chemical composition of garlic cultivated for bundle-harvest. Veg Crops Res Bull 66: 17-24.

Scarascia-Mugnozza G, Sica C, Russo G, 2011. Plastic materials in European agriculture: actual use and perspectives. J Agr Eng 42 (3): 15-28.

Schettini E, Vox G, 2012. Effects of agrochemicals on the radiometric properties of different anti-UV stabilized EVA plastic films. Acta Hortic 956: 515-522.

Singh B, Sharma N, 2008. Mechanistic implications of plastic degradation. Polym Degrad Stab 93 (3): 561-584.

Siwek P, 2002. Modification of environmental conditions by mulching and direct plant covering in the cultivation of cucumber and stalk celery. Post-doctoral thesis, Univ. Agriculture, Kraków, Poland.

Siwek P, Libik A, 2012. Plastics covers in Polish horticulture. Plasticulture 9 (131): 64-73.

Siwek P, Libik A, Zawiska I, 2012. The effect of biodegradable nonwovens in butterhead lettuce cultivation for early harvest. Folia Hort 24 (2): 161-166.

Siwek P, Libik A, Kalisz A, Zawiska I, 2013a. The effect of biodegradable nonwoven direct covers on yield and quality of winter leek. Folia Hort 25 (1): 61-65.

Siwek P, Libik A, Zawiska I, 2013b. The impact of biodegradable nonwoven fabric covers on the field and quality of overwintering onions. Acta Sci Pol, Hortorum Cultus 12 (6): 3-11.

Soltani N, Anderson JL, Hamson AR, 1995. Growth analysis of watermelon plants grown with mulches and row covers. J Amer Soc Hortic Sci 120 (6): 1001-1009.

Sulak K, Mik T, Lichocik M, Witkowska B, Wierus K, Krucińska I, 2012. Modified polypropylene spun-bond non-wovens with increased susceptibility to photodegradation. Przetwórstwo Tworzyw 18 (6): 657-661.

Twarowska-Schmidt K, Sulak K, Gałęski A, Piórkowska E, Wojtczak M, Dutkiewicz S, 2016. Investigation in melt processing of biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic polyester into fibrous products. Fibres Text East Eur 24, 6 (120): 58-64.

Yemm EW, Willis AJ, 1954. The estimation of carbohydrates in plant extracts by anthrone. Biochem J 57: 508-514.

Zawiska I, Siwek P, 2014. The effect of biodegradable direct covers on the root development, yield and quality of cucumber. Folia Hort 26 (1): 43-48.

How to Cite
Kalisz, A., Siwek, P., & Sulak, K. (2018). Influence of spunbond degradable floating row covers on microclimate modification and yield of field cucumber. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 16(2), e0902.
Plant production (Field and horticultural crops)