Have You Heard About Red Plastic????/

bulldinkie(pa)June 16, 2014

Last year I read an article about using red plastic for under tomato plants.So I ordered some omg I went out just a few weeks later 1 plant had about a dozen about 6" round beautiful tomatoes.My hubby loves tomatoes.So I did it again this year.I was in the garden tonite theres at least 6 tomatoes on one plant,.big.What causes this.Ive tried clear & black but this red is awesome.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

research done at Penn State. Process is called Plasticulture.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:58PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Hummm, looks like I learned something. I thought the red plastic thing was a bit of a scam, but apparently I'm wrong. I did use it years ago and didn't notice any difference, but I'm sure it warmed the soil a bit and kept down the weeds.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:40AM
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old-n-growing

Aren't plants green because they absorb all the other colors in sunlight? Then red plastic would be red because it absorbs everything but red. Green and red being opposit colors on a color wheel, maybe red plastic reflects the colors that tomatoe plants like, and absorbs the other colors that are of no use to tomatoe plants to warm the soil? I've been know to string a tale, but am not sure in this case.

This post was edited by old-n-growing on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 2:04

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:21AM
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ncrealestateguy

I have never seen any commercial growers using it...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:54AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I was present at the NE vegetablee conference. at Sturbridge, MA many years ago, when that red plastic was first introduced, and it was introduced for commercial growers who grew determinate plants since so many feet on either sideof the plants had to be covered.

At first it was said that there would be about a 20% increase in yield, but that was found out not to be true at all, so current figures run around a possible 10% increase.

Take a plant that normally might produce 20 fruits.add two for the possible increase so compare a two fruit increase with the cost of that red plastic, and I think thaty you'll come to the conclusion that many have, and that it's not worth it.

There are also blue and yellow and silver and whatever plastics now, with all sorts of claims/

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:30AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It isn't new, been around for several years, tested extensively, and most testing on the red color shows minimal, if any, improvement over any other color of plastic when it comes to speeding up ripening (which is its claim).

Plasticulture, regardless of the color used, has some benefits for the plant in some northern climates in terms of soil warming But it also has some associated risks.

There are many previous discussions here about both the red plastic and general plasticulture the search will pull up if interested.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:36AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Supposedly, the effect of red plastic comes from the light that is reflect back ( Red wave length). If it were for the purpose of warming effect, black would be the best since it absorbs almost all wave lengths and reflects none.

So what is magical about the RED (its corresponding wave length) that tomato benefits from ? The full spectrum sun/day light already has that wave length in it too. The 10% increase in production CLAIM is very difficult to prove and substantiate to be due to the reflection effect. The plant might have benefited from the soil warming effect. In which case black, grey, semi clear can have a better effect. The other issue is that when plants are planted , say, at 2 ft spacing, and they have already large top (foliage) very little light will reach the ground and still very little of it will be reflected having an incident angle to hit the plant.
Call me an "skeptic" on this subject (red plastic).

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 6:04PM
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sheltieche

Among others I had 3 kozy coats in my WOW set up. Did not see any difference in the plants growth, anecdotal evidence, one of the sickliest plants is from the red WOW batch.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:50PM
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aphidsquish

Maybe, by reflecting the red part of the spectrum onto the plant, red plastic has a similar effect of a 2700K ("red") grow light, which would encourage more flowering and thus more fruit?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 10:01PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Maybe, by reflecting the red part of the spectrum onto the plant, red plastic has a similar effect of a 2700K ("red") grow light, which would encourage more flowering and thus more fruit?
%%%%%%%%%%

Yes. I think it is possible in theory. But the question is the amount of incident ray (that is reflected back onto the plant) and the effect of it. As I said before, the red wave length is already present in the full spectrum.

But I see there is no harm using RP. So one can try it. Like they say: you'll never know !

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:00AM
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bulldinkie(pa)

Now when I planted the tomatoes I always plant deep.You know like they said deep they'll put out more roots.then after planted we put down the red plastic.I couldn't believe all those tomatoes and as big as they were on one plant.We did it again this year.The one plant hardly has any leaves but theres about 6 tomatoes in a clump about 3" round 4-5 tomatoes.I did pick a red one last weekend from that clump.Its working for me.My hubby loves tomatoes.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:30AM
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aphidsquish

Ok, I have another theory, but I'm only half serious about this one. Maybe the red plastic tricks you into thinking your tomatoes are ripening. We are growing tomatoes in those bright orange Home Depot buckets and the bright orange reflects onto the bottom of the fruit making them ALL look like they have just started to blush. I drives me crazy.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:09AM
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