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Farmers have been using polyethylene-based (PE) plastic mulches for more than 60 years to meet the increased demand of crops, especially vegetables. The use of mulch can increase marketable crop yield by controlling weeds, conserving moisture, enhancing soil temperature, reducing disease pressure and controlling wind erosion. But there are several economic and ecological drawbacks associated with the use of non-biodegradable mulch in agriculture. Mulch can impart harmful effects to the soil, environment and overall ecology since mulch can persist for many years. Mulch that has the benefits of PE but that can biodegrade in the soil has the potential to be a good alternative for farmers and the environment.


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Mulch Resources

  • Effects of Mulch Color Color of mulch for eight different vegetable crops. The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Plastic Mulch & Drip Irrigation Includes detailed instructions for drip irrigation set-up, rates of irrigation, fertigation methods and quantities, double cropping suggestions, and cost estimates for a plastic mulch system. North Carolina State University Extension.
  • Season Extension Techniques Season extension can enable year-round crop production as well as higher-quality produce. This publication describes season extension techniques and provides sources for equipment, supplies, and further information. ATTRA.
  • Season Extension Tools and Techniques Summary of various season extension techniques including plasticulture plus many links for further research. University of Kentucky Extension.
  • Season Extension. Advantages and disadvantages of using plasticulture to extend the crop growing season. North Carolina State University Extension.
  • Significant Increases Crops with greatest success due to plastic mulch. North Carolina State University.
  • Strawberry Yield over Red versus Black Plastic Mulch Research study to investigate effect of black and red plastic mulch on strawberry production. (Kasperbauer, 2014)
  • Use of Plastic Mulch Outline of advantages and disadvantages of using plastic mulch, and detailed instructions on plastic mulch application, planting, maintenance, and removal. Oklahoma State University Extension.