The plastic mulch is widely known as one of the most effective and efficient weed management tools. The plastic mulch seals off the surface of the soil so that weeds will not have access to light for growth.
This article will explain some of the types of plastic mulch used by farmers, their characteristics and advantages.
The use of plastic mulch has transformed the mulching strategy used for weeds control. Now, plastic mulch can be used for other roles other than weeds control. Plastic mulch can be used to improve water retention in soils and ensure plants optimize the usage of fertilizers and soil nutrients.
The types of plastic mulch used for farming are usually categorized according to their colour, thickness, density and additives used for their production.
Main Types of Plastic Mulch
The main types of plastic mulch are:
- Black Plastic Mulch
- Silver on Black Plastic Mulch
- Transparent Plastic Mulch
- Red Plastic Mulch
- Green Plastic Mulch
- Brown Plastic Mulch
- Biodegradable Plastic Mulch
Black Plastic Mulch
The black mulch is one of the most widely used types of plastic mulch in farming. It has a total opacity and prevents the growth of weeds in the soil. The black plastic mulch also improves the retention of water in the soil by preventing the evaporation of water.
The black plastic mulch absorbs a large percentage of sunlight and heat during the day; this can go a long way in disrupting the activities of some harmful pests and microbes in the soil.
The black plastic mulch can cause burns for some delicate crops so care must be exercised when using this type of plastic mulch. Black plastic mulch is also well used for mulching in vegetables.
Silver on Black Colour Plastic Mulch
This type of plastic mulch has a silver colour on one side and a black colour on another side. The side with the silver colour is usually placed to face the sunlight.
The silver colour has the advantage of radiating extra light which improves the process of photosynthesis; this may lead to increase in crop yield.
One of the benefits of this plastic mulch is that it reflects light and repels some types of insects.
Transparent Plastic Mulch (Clear Plastic Mulch)
The transparent plastic mulch or clear plastic mulch is a type of plastic mulch that is used to increase the temperature of the soil. When the temperature of the soil is increased, plants’ roots tend to grow at a faster rate.
This type of plastic mulch is usually used in temperate climes where temperature is low. This plastic mulch can also be used to solarize the soil and kill harmful pests and microbes in the soil.
Red Plastic Mulch
The red plastic mulch is a type of photoselective mulch used for weeds control in some types of crops.
The red plastic mulch has been proven to increase the yield of tomato and sweet pepper. The reflection of the red colour has a positive impact on the growth of tomato and pepper plants.
Green Plastic Mulch
The green plastic mulch is also a type of photoselective mulch used for the control of weeds in crop cultivation.
The green plastic mulch is usually used for weed management in crops like cucumber, watermelon and biter gourd etc.
Brown Plastic Mulch
The brown plastic mulch is a photoselective type of mulch used for weed control in some crops. The colour of this plastic mulch is brown.
The deep brown colour prevents the penetration of light into the soil; this stops the growth of weeds. The brown plastic mulch is not a common type of mulch in Nigeria.
Biodegradable Plastic Mulch
The biodegradable plastic mulch is a green type of plastic mulch which degrades into the soil after use without any damage to the environment.
The quick decomposition of this type of plastic mulch removes the need for manual removal and disposal of the conventional type of plastic mulch. The biodegradable plastic mulch does not leave any plastic residue in the soil.
Plastic Mulch and their Thicknesses
The plastic mulch can also be categorized according to their thicknesses. The thickness of the plastic mulch is measured in microns, mils or millimetres.
The microns of plastic mulch can be 20 microns, 25 microns, 30 microns, 40 microns, 50 microns and 60 microns etc.
The thicker plastic mulches are used for crops that last for more than 12 months. The less thick plastic mulches are used for short term crops like cucumber, tomato and pepper etc.
Should you need to buy or order plastic mulch, you can buy here.