The use of plastic mulch alters soil temperature. Mulch applied to the soil intercept sunlight warming the soil allowing earlier planting as well as encouraging faster growth early in the growing season. White mulch reflects heat from the sun effectively reducing soil temperature. This reduction in temperature may help establish plants in mid-summer when cooler soil might be required.
As every plant requires a process of photosynthesis for generation of food, which requires sunlight, on using of plastic mulch film the weed plant which will be below the plastic mulch sheet, the sheet does not allow the sunrays to pass through it, as our film has a unique quality of reflecting back the sunlight, which will not allow the weed to grow.
Thus moisture is preserved for several days and increases the period between two irrigations.
- Plastic mulches also aid in evenly distributing moisture to the soil which reduces plant stress.
- Savings in water is one of the greatest advantage with plastic mulch and such savings are found to vary from 20% to as high as 75%. The savings in water are more pronounced in dry areas.
Reduction in the cost of fertilizer
Basically water has the property to go deep into the soil (also called as leaching property), where as the roots cant go too much deep into the soil, when fertilizer get dissolved in the water because of the leaching property there is a huge wastage of fertilizer, the use of plastic mulch along with drip irrigation allows the dissolved fertilizer not to go deep into the soil and allows timely and evenly distribution of nutrients to the plant, which helps the plant to grow faster and healthier.
Based on the above concept fertilizer use efficiency by the plant will be more than 95%, hence there will be an approximate saving of 50% in the cost of fertilizer.
Reduction in root damage
The use of plastic mulch creates a practically weed free area around the plant, removing the need for inter cultivation except between the rows of plastic. Root damage associated with inter cultivation is therefore eliminated. Due to these factors, the use of plastic mulch can lead to an improvement in the overall growth of the plant.
Plastic mulches like silver have the property to repellent the sucking pests like white flies, moreover plastic mulches will reduce the effect of soil born pathogen.
Soil micro climate:
Mulches create a micro environment which alters plant growth and development. Plastic mulches affect plant microclimate by retaining soil moisture and changing root-zone temperatures and the quantity and quality of light reflected back to the plants there by altering the soil energy balance and restricting soil water evaporation, benefiting the plant growth and give better yield.
Precautions for Mulch Laying
• Do not stretch the film very tightly. It should be loose enough to overcome the expansion and shrinkage conditions caused by temperature and the impacts of cultural operation.
• The film should not be laid on the hottest time of the day, when the film will be in expanded condition.
This depends upon the inter row spacing. Normally a one to one and half meter width film can be easily adapted to different conditions.
Mulch Laying Techniques
- Mulch should be laid on a non-windy condition
- ii. The mulch material should be held tight without any crease and laid on the bed
- iii. The borders (10 cm) should be anchored inside the soil in about 7-10 cm deep in small furrows at an angle of 45°.