In a study with three cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) cultivars (Local, TMS4(2)1425 and TMS30572) grown under straw, black polythene and white polythene mulches the fresh tuber yield and yield components were greater than for those grown on bare (control) plots, although the magnitude of increase was cultivar dependent. The order of response was white polythene > straw > black polythene > bare (control). The yield differences were caused by the effects of the mulches on the temperature and water content of the soil surface. Maximum daily soil temperature was lowest on the straw plots (32·5°C), about equal on the bare and white polythene treatments (38·6°C vs 39·8°C) and highest on the black polythene plots (45·0°C). In 1986 the soil moisture reserve was depleted by 84%, 46%, 29% and 24% on the bare, straw, black polythene and white polythene plots within a 60-day period following the last rain, suggesting that it was soil temperature rather than soil moisture which accounted for the large yield differences under black and white polythene.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 01/1991; 54(4):569 – 577. DOI:10.1002/jsfa.2740540408