Effect of plastic mulch on water flow and herbicide transport in soil cultivated with pineapple crop: A modeling study

J. Dusek, C. Ray, G. Alavi, T. Vogel, M. Sanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In Hawaii, pineapple is typically grown in raised beds covered with impervious plastic mulch. Field measurements of a commonly used herbicide (bromacil) mass beneath mulch-covered pineapple beds and inter-bed open areas revealed that open areas contained a mass of bromacil about 3.5 times greater than was originally applied, based on label instructions, to the entire field. The broadcast bromacil ended up in the inter-bed open areas through water runoff from the plastic mulch covering the pineapple beds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of surficial management on water dynamics and bromacil concentration in the soil on a pineapple plantation using the one- (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) flow and transport models. Flow and transport processes were simulated in a 2D vertical cross-section perpendicular to the plant rows. The 1D simulation was limited to the open inter-bed areas. Several simulation scenarios were proposed to evaluate the effect of plastic mulch on bromacil transport in soil. In our simplified approach, the water and solute boundary fluxes for the non-covered areas were increased to simulate the water and solute contribution from the plastic mulch surface. The simulation results were compared with field observations of soil water potentials and resident bromacil concentration profiles. The field and laboratory-measured hydraulic and transport parameters were used for all simulation scenarios. Reasonably good agreement between the model-predicted and observed soil water potentials and bromacil concentration profiles was obtained. Biased 1D and 2D results were predicted when the water runoff from plastic mulch was neglected. The 1D approach to quantify bromacil transport beneath the inter-bed open areas seemed to be sufficient in case the water runoff from the mulch was taken into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1637-1645
Number of pages9
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bromacil
  • Field leaching
  • Irrigation
  • Pesticide transport in soil
  • Soil water flow
  • Tropical soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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