The use of plastic mulch has been said to have negative effects on the environment. Farmers are now being advised to use the alternatives to plastic mulch for weed control.
Aside the environment damaging effects of the plastic mulch, the cost of acquiring and removing plastic mulch is enormous for small scale farmers.
This post explains the alternatives to plastic mulch in Nigeria.
The Alternatives to Plastic Mulch
The following are the alternatives to plastic mulch:
Paper mulches are laid on the surface of the soil like the how the plastic mulch is laid. Paper mulches are made of cellulose based materials. They are a good alternative to the use of plastic mulch.
Paper mulches may not be used in the open field during the rainy season. Paper mulches are usually used in the dry season. They can also be used in closed greenhouses.
The edges of the paper mulch should be buried in the soil so that the wind will not remove the plastic mulch. The use of paper mulch is not common in Nigeria though some farmers use it in their greenhouses.
Straw is one of the types of mulches that can be used for weed control. Straw is the byproduct of stalks of cereal plants after the chaff and grains have been removed. Straws can be derived from maize, rice, wheat, barley and oat etc.
To use straw as an alternative to plastic mulch, they must be spread on the soil. When the surface of the soil is covered with straw, weeds will find it hard to grow.
Straws can also interfere with the population of pests, aside this; they can cool the surface of the soil.
The decomposition of straws in the soil can improve the nutrients base of the soil; it can also improve the structure and cation exchange capacity of the soil.
Deep Compost Mulch
The use of deep compost mulch can also be an alternative to the use of plastic mulch. The process of deep compost mulching involves the addition of weed free dep compost to the surface of the soil.
The addition of the deep compost to the surface of the soil ensures that no weed grows on the soil. Aside the weed control effect of deep compost mulching, it can also improve the nutrients profile and structure of the soil.
Deep composting can enhance the water retention ability of the soil.
Wood chips can serve as mulch in farming. Wood chips have organic matter that can improve the structure of the soil.
Due to the pH altering effect of wood chips, they should only be used in rows. If wood chips are used on the beds or ridges, they can later the C/N ratio of the soil and also significantly change the pH of the soil.
The use of risk husk for weed control is common in northern Nigeria where rice is widely grown. Rice husks are widely used for weed control in the cultivation of maize, soybeans and vegetables.
Aside the weed control effect of rice husks, they also serve as organic matter and improve the water retention capability of the soil.
The decomposition of rice husks in the soil can also add some nutrients to the soil.
Biodegradable Plastic Mulch
The biodegradable plastic mulch is made of plastic materials that can degrade and decompose in the soil.
The biodegradable plastic mulch is arguably the most environmentally friendly mulch in the world. The decomposition of the biodegradable plastic mulch in the soil can enhance the health of the soil. It can also improve the water retention ability of the soil.
The other alternatives to plastic mulch that can be used are:
- Wool Mulch
- Living Mulches
- Dry Fodders
You can order your plastic mulch by calling us on 08025141924.