Reflective Mulch in Pistachio Orchards
The use of reflective mulches has achieved success in various aspects of horticultural production, including early fruit ripening, increased crop yield, weed control and pest and disease minimisation.
The use of reflective mulches in orchard systems is also becoming an increasingly popular way to increase light levels into the orchard canopy.
A research project (Zhang, 2011), conducted over seven growing seasons by Dr. Jianlu Zhang, Research Field Officer, Pistachio Growers Association Incorporated, has shown very encouraging results with the use of reflective mulch in pistachio crops at CMV farms at Robinvale, Victoria.
The reflective mulch, Extenday™, is a reflective fabric designed and produced in New Zealand. The Extenday™ fabric is durable and resists traffic, therefore enabling its use for multiple seasons.
In this study, the Extenday™ fabric was placed in the orchard at bud burst and left in position until harvest. The fabric was tethered in place by steel pins, tied to trees, or by having soil placed along the edges of the fabric.
In relation to yield comparisons all yields were fresh yields with the hull. In the return comparisons all prices were based on the price in 2004. Current prices are much better than that.
The Reflective mulch technical bulletin can be downloaded here: Reflective mulch tech bulletin
A more detailed report on the study reproduced from Nutgrower: R mulch – Nutgrower Sept 2012