Mulch Films:- It prevents the loss of moisture and acts as a barrier between the soil and atmosphere. It also helps in moderating the soil temperature & micro-climate in the plant root zone, which helps to increase yield and early maturity of crops. Please get in touch with us with a complete requirement or any technical assistance on the product.
Mainly used for growing fruit and vegetable crops over extensive areas, mulch films offer the following advantages:
Earlier planting dates
The use of plastic mulch alters soil temperature. Dark mulches and clear mulches 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.
Soil moisture retention
Plastic mulches reduce the amount of water lost from the soil due to evaporation. This means less water will be needed for irrigation. Plastic mulches also aid in evenly distributing moisture to the soil which reduces plant stress.
Plastic mulches prevent sunlight from reaching the soil which can inhibit most annual and perennial weeds. Clear plastics prevent weed growth. Holes in the mulch for plants tend to be the only pathway for weeds to grow.
Reduction in the leaching of fertilizer
The use of drip irrigation in conjunction with plastic mulch allows one to reduce leaching of fertilizers. Using drip irrigation eliminates the use of flood and furrow irrigation that applies large quantities of water to the soil which in turn tends to leach nitrogen and other nutrients to depths below the root zone. Drip irrigation applies lower amounts of water with fertilizers injected and thus these fertilizers are applied to the root zone as needed. This also reduces the amount of fertilizer needed for adequate plant growth when compared to broadcast fertilization.
Improved crop quality
Plastic mulches keep ripening fruits off of the soil. This reduced contact with the soil decreases fruit rot as well as keeps the fruit and vegetables clean. This is beneficial for the production of strawberries, for example.
Reduction in soil compaction
The plastic mulch covering the soil decreases the crusting effect of rain and sunlight. The reduction in weed quantity means a decreased need for mechanical cultivation. Weed control between beds of plastic can be done using directly applied herbicides and through mechanical means. The soil underneath the plastic mulch stays loose and well aerated. This increases the amount of oxygen in the soil and aids in microbial activity.
Reduction in root damage
The use of plastic mulch creates a practically weed-free area around the plant, removing the need for cultivation except between the rows of plastic. Root damage associated with 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.
Uses of Plastic Mulch
The use of plastic mulch requires a unique application process to ensure proper placement of the plastic film. This application process begins with preparing the field the same way one would for a flat seed bed. The bed must be free of large soil clods and organic residue. A machine called a plastic layer or a bed shaper is pulled over the field creating a row of plastic mulch covering a planting bed. These beds can be a flatbed which simply means the surface of the plastic mulch is level with the inter-row soil surface. Machines that form raised beds create a plastic surface higher than the inter-row soil surface.
The basic concept of the plastic bed shaper is a shaping box which creates the bed that is then covered by plastic via a roller and two coulters that cover the edges of the plastic film to hold the plastic the soil’s surface. These plastic layers also place the drip irrigation line under the plastic while the machine lays the plastic. It is somewhat important that the plastic is rather tight. This becomes important in the planting process.
Planting also requires specialized planting equipment. The most common planting equipment is a waterwheel type transplanter. The waterwheel transplanter utilizes a rotating drum or drums with spikes at set intervals. The drum or drums have a water supply that continuously fills the drum with water. The transplanter rolls the spiked drum over the bed of plastic. As the drum presses a spike into the plastic a hole is punched water flows into the punched hole. A rider on the transplanter can then place a plant in the hole. These drums can have multiple rows and varied intervals to create the desired spacing for that particular crop.