Mulching is a soil covering with polyethylene film for prevention evaporation of moisture from the soil and overheating. Mulching is a way to improve physical and agronomic properties of soil and effectiveness of mineral nutrition of agricultural plants.
The use of plastic mulching films for getting earlier and heavy crop is becoming more popular year after year. It is important especially for such warm-season vegetables as pepper, tomatoes, corn as well as for grapevine. It is possible to apply different types of mulching film: transparent, black or mixed.
Different types of mulching are distinguished:
Mulching with black film is characterized by "weed-killing" effect (absorbs all the sun rays and removes weeds and debris). However the soil is warmed up slowly and the polyethylene film can be warmed up very much under sunrays that causes the risk of "sunburn" of plants.
Mulching with transparent film assists the rapid warming up of the soil while the film remains cold and this excludes the risk of "sunburn" of plants. Such type of mulching can create favourable conditions for weeds, that’s why it is necessary to use herbicides. This is the main disadvantage.
Mulching with black-and-white film is an optimal mulching that allows reflecting the sunlight falling on the soil to the plants. Such mulching promotes rapid growth of the harvest. The soil starts to be warmed up from the bottom layer, which is warmed up by the sun energy, absorbed by the white layer of the film. The upper surface of the film is not warmed up very much and thus the plants are not "sunburned". Light reflecting effect and non- transparence prevents the growth of weeds.
Researches show that application of transparent mulching film allows maintaining temperature of the soil above 10°C, beginning from the middle of April. Under black film the temperature is sometimes below 10 °C at night. We recommend you to choose mulching film taking into account the local conditions and properties of cultivated crop.