Date of Award

12-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Committee Member

Juan Carlos Melgar

Committee Member

Ellen Vincent

Committee Member

Dario Chavez

Abstract

Fruit bagging is a simple method used to protect fruit from pests and diseases. It is popular among backyard gardeners in Asia and there is an increasing interest in the United States, especially in regions with warm and humid climates where pests and diseases thrive (Gorsuch and Scott 2020). Two different surveys were created and conducted two consecutive years (2019 and 2020) using Survey Monkey. Separate surveys were sent out: one was for assessing consumer perception at farmer’s markets in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and the other was for evaluating bagging success among backyard growers across the nation. Each survey consisted of a few specific questions regarding the fruit bags, success rate, previous knowledge, consumer preference and demographic information. In response to consumer interest in composting and reducing overall waste, an experiment on composting the used fruit bags was conducted at Clemson Compost Facility with the primary objective being to develop a way to compost these used bags to prevent landfill waste. It was evident from the consumer market surveys that each state held a slightly different view on bagging peaches and consumers were in fact willing to pay extra for both organic and bagged peaches. Since there was an interest in purchasing the fruit bags by backyard growers who experimented with them in their orchards, we saw this as an opportunity for citizen-science research. The backyard growers survey revealed that the majority of respondents were located in the southeastern United States. For many of the backyard growers, using the fruit bags seemed to increase their peach harvest and many noted they would use the bags again. However, growers that did not spray any fungicide/pesticide before bagging reported more fruit losses. Decomposition of the used fruit bags was almost complete after twelve weeks in either treated pile, while the control showed no significant changes throughout the entire cycle.

Available for download on Friday, December 31, 2021

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