Lettuce grown through holes in biodegradable mulch ready for harvest.
Lettuce grown through holes in biodegradable mulch ready for harvest.

A fabric made directly from a web of fiber, without the yarn preparation necessary for weaving and knitting. In a nonwoven, the assembly of textile fibers is held together (i) by mechanical interlocking in a random web or mat; (ii) by fusing of the fibers, as in the case of thermoplastic fibers; or (iii) by bonding with a cementing medium such as starch, casein, rubber latex, a cellulose derivative or synthetic resin. Initially, the fibers may be oriented in one direction or may be deposited in a random manner. This web or sheet is then bonded together by one of the methods described above. Fiber lengths can range from 0.25 inch to 6 inches for crimped fibers up to continuous filament in spunbonded fabrics. Nonwoven fabrics are currently used as weed mats, and row covers. (INDA Nonwoven Glossary, published by Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, 2002.Biodegradable Mulch: Project Applies Textile Science to Agriculture. Multi-state research project will evaluate various mulch fabrics to determine specific responses to weathering, biodegradation rates, and impact on the health and quality of soil. Washington State University.