Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Committee Chair(s)

Rhonda Miller


Rhonda Miller


Claudia Nischwitz


Diane Alston


Richard Heflebower


Plant diseases are among the leading causes of tomato stand loss in the state of Utah. Viral plant diseases are often transferred from one plant to another by insect feeding. In Utah, one of the leading viruses that infects tomatoes is Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) which is spread by thrips. The objectives of this study were as follows.

  1. Determine the impact from reflective mulch and row covers on thrips population numbers.
  2. Determine the effects of row covers on the TSWV infection rate.
  3. Compare varietal response to thrip populations.

This 2-year study focused on the use of two different types of plastic mulch and the use of row covers to deter the number of virus-carrying insects on tomato plants. Silver reflective mulch and floating row covers were compared to black plastic mulch, which is the tomato industry standard. This study was set up in a randomized complete block design and repeated twice over 2 years. Two different tomato varieties, “ Mountain Glory” and “Celebrity,” were used in this study to determine if Mountain Glory was a viable option for tomato producers in the southern part of Utah. Plants that show signs of infection were sampled and tested for presence of the virus. Two-sided yellow sticky trap cards were deployed within the trial plots, collected three times each year, and analyzed for the number of thrips.

The results showed that silver reflective mulch, and the use of floating row covers significantly reduced the number of thrips in tomato production compared to the standard black plastic mulch. No significant difference was observed when comparing the number of thrips present on the sticky cards when analyzed by tomato variety



Included in

Agriculture Commons