UV-Transmitting Plastics Reduce Powdery Mildew in Strawberry Tunnel Production

Rodrigo B. Onofre, David M. Gadoury, Arne Stensvand, Andrew Bierman, Mark Rea, Natalia A. Peres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Strawberry powdery mildew, caused by Podosphaera aphanis, can be particularly destructive in glasshouse and plastic tunnel production systems, which generally are constructed of materials that block ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation (about 280 to 400 nm). We compared epidemic progress in replicated plots in open fields and under tunnels constructed of polyethylene, which blocks nearly all solar UV-B, and two formulations of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), one of which contained a UV blocker and another that transmitted nearly 90% of solar UV-B. Disease severity under all plastics was higher than in open-field plots, indicating a generally more favorable environment in containment structures. However, the foliar severity of powdery mildew within the tunnels was inversely related to their UV transmissibility. Among the tunnels tested, incidence of fruit infection was highest under polyethylene and lowest under UV-transmitting ETFE. These effects probably transcend crop, and the blocking of solar UV transmission by glass and certain plastics probably contributes to the widely observed favorability of greenhouse and high-tunnel growing systems for powdery mildew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2455-2461
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Podosphaera aphanis
  • covered production
  • fruit
  • fungi
  • small fruits
  • ultraviolet


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