Mulching is a process of covering the soil with a porous material to improve soil condition and plant growth. This process creates protective cover around the plant root to make it favorable for better condition.
Plastic mulch is a product used in agriculture, lawns and gardens to prevent weed growth, retain moisture in the soil and to increase soil temperatures.
What to consider while getting a plastic mulch
Selecting mulching paper thickness is important for durability & crop type. For vegetables, 15 microns to 30 microns is used, however for long term crops, film thickness ranges from 60 microns to 80 microns are found suitable. So the thicker it is, the more durable it becomes. The thin mulching paper is cost-effective and suitable for short production crops like vegetables, but not durable.
Depending on the interspace between crop rows, mulching paper width needs to be selected. This is also important for laying purpose. Generally, 1 to 1.5 meters of width film is used for a variety of crop productions.
Mulching paper colour type is one of the most important parameters depending on the type of crop, soil, and location. Mulching paper colour affects soil temperature, air temperature around the plant, sunlight reflection & soil pH level.
Black and silver is the most popular type of mulching sheet as it is suitable for any crop. The black plastic mulch is ideal for eliminating weeds, warming up the soil during cold season and retaining the soil moisture. The silver one on the other hand works best in warming up the soil and encouraging faster plant growth.
A good quality mulching paper should have long durability, should not be highly porous and should have a good thermal resistant characteristic.
Benefits of using plastic mulch
Plastic mulch is one of the best ways to retain moisture in plants since it does so evenly and consistently. You can water less often to keep your plants fully hydrated. Plastic mulch can be a bit restrictive in terms of method of irrigation. A farmer may decide to pair it with drip irrigation to make sure it holds an appropriate amount of water.
Warming the soil
Mulch can help in warming the soil. It also regulates the temperature evenly, so you won’t have dramatic swings between plants in different areas of the garden. Because it helps the soil retain heat as colder weather sets in
Improves soil texture
Plastic mulch improves soil texture and structure. When you mulch, it makes it difficult for the soil to clump together and remain compact. It also traps heat and moisture, making it harder for plants to leach nutrients.
Protects Plant Roots
Plastic mulch can protect plant roots. It eliminates the need to work between plants, instead, requiring you to just walk between individual rows. Since the soil remains undisturbed, plant roots can grow and spread with ease.
Using plastic mulch, particularly the black one, prevents weeds from obtaining the sun they need for photosynthesis so you won’t have to resort to pulling them by hand.
Provides a Barrier for Leafy Crops From Contacting the Soil
When you put down mulch, you create a barrier between your plants and the soil. This is essential for plants like leafy vegetables as well as those that produce fruits. It can help prevent rot and the spread of disease.
Makes the farm look tidy
Using plastic mulch in the garden just makes it look better. It could be that there are fewer weeds around plants or that the effect of the plastic around the plants is cleaner.
How to irrigate plants while using plastic mulch
Inserting a drip irrigation line inside the plastic mulch offers convenience and relieves too much labor to irrigate crops. And because plastic mulch helps retain moisture in the root zone, less waterings are necessary therefore resulting in increased conservation of water and fertilizer nutrients. Choosing the right drip irrigation line depends on the plant spacing and overall distance and the existing flow rate and pressure from the source. For large distances, it is recommended to use pressure compensated emitters or in-line column emitters which equalize pressure across the entire line to ensure uniformity in crop irrigation.
Prices of plastic mulch
|Thickness in microns
|Prices (Kes) per square meter
Farmers are currently shifting from the traditional methods of mulching and embracing the new methods mostly in large scale farming. This helps farmers to save on time and labour. In Mazero Agrifood, we offer our farmers quality plastic mulch made of High-Density Polyethylene and its UV treated to prolong its life span. They are reusable and recyclable. Contact us on 0729777711.