plastic mulch

Plastic Mulch

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.
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.
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, with the mulch protecting the soil it covers from erosion.
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.