Navigation Links
Paper mulches evaluated for commercial vegetable production

LEXINGTON, KY Polyethylene mulches, used widely in commercial vegetable production to improve crop yields and produce quality, have distinct disadvantages. Disposal options are limited, and plastic mulches often end up in landfills, being burned, or disposed of illegally. Recycling polyethylene mulches is also a challenge; the mulches used in large-scale vegetable production are contaminated with too much dirt and debris to be recycled directly from the field in most power plants and incinerators. Timothy Coolong from the University of Kentucky's Department of Horticulture published a report on paper mulches in HortTechnology that may give vegetable producers viable alternatives to polyethylene.

The recent trend toward eco-friendly production techniques has resulted in a second look at biodegradable paper mulches, which are manufactured from renewable resources and do not have to be removed from the field after harvest. Paper-based mulches have been used in agriculture since 1914, but some paper mulches deteriorate rapidly under field conditions, reducing their effectiveness. Paper mulches have other limitations; since they are heavier than polyethylene, transportation costs are higher, and paper mulches are inherently more expensive than polyethylene.

Coolong's research evaluated the performance of four readily obtainable papers compared with traditional black plastic using conventional plastic laying equipment and a water wheel transplanter. The experiments were conducted in Lexington, Kentucky, over two growing seasons using yellow squash. Crop yield and quality, weed biomass, soil temperatures under the mulch, and mulch degradation were evaluated. Four paper mulches50-lb kraft paper, 50-lb polyethylene-coated kraft paper, 40-lb white butcher paper, and 30-lb waxed paperwere compared with 1-mil black polyethylene mulch in two weeding treatments (bare-ground hand-weeded and bare-ground nonweeded).

In the Fall 2007 experiment, butcher paper and polyethylene-coated kraft paper controlled weeds as well as black plastic mulch. However, in Spring 2008, black plastic mulch provided superior weed control compared with other mulches. Yields among waxed, butcher, and polyethylene-coated kraft papers were similar to black plastic mulch in 2007, though yields in paper mulch plots were significantly less than plastic mulch in Spring 2008. Coolong observed that most of the paper mulches were able to be placed with a plastic mulch layer, but were not well-suited for use with a water wheel transplanter.

"Our results suggest that in some situations, paper mulches may provide a more sustainable alternative to traditional black plastic mulches. Results with the polyethylene-coated kraft paper suggest that efforts to combine paper with biodegradable films to create mulches may prove worthwhile," observed Coolong. He cautioned that although paper mulches can be effective, cropping conditions and the environment will influence effectiveness, adding that "if paper mulches are ever to be used on a large scale, they will have to be used in conjunction with mulch laying equipment and perhaps mechanical transplanters".


Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science

Related biology news :

1. Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world’s largest mammals
2. Built-in timer for improving accuracy of cost saving paper-strip medical tests
3. Putting a bulls-eye on the flu: Paper details influenzas structure for future drug targeting
4. Impending death for paper coupons?
5. Nature Nanotechnology paper shows enzyme-controlled movement of DNA polymer through a nanopore
6. Computer in wrapping-paper form
7. New paper examines approaches to measuring protein in foods in context of deadly adulterations
8. The making of a queen: Road to royalty begins early in paper wasps
9. Paper offers new insights into the genomics of speciation
10. ADA releases updated position paper on nutrition assistance programs for children
11. Paper wasps and honey bees share a genetic toolkit
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Paper mulches evaluated for commercial vegetable production
(Date:10/1/2015)... , Oct. 1, 2015  Biometrics includes diverse ... human body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas, ... Adoption of biometrics technology has been constantly increasing ... last five years. In addition to the most ... fingerprint recognition, other means of biometric authentication are ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... global glucose monitoring device and diabetes management market is valued ... on the industry from Kalorama Information. Sales in the traditional glucose ... continuous glucose monitoring and sensor segment, according to the healthcare ... in its latest report, The Global Glucose Monitoring Market ... , ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... , Sept. 28, 2015 CLEAR, ... that its expedited traveler service is coming ... transforms travel, bringing a frictionless experience, serious ... "CLEAR offers our travelers an ... service," said Jim Smith , Executive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015  According to Kalorama Information, the ... $102 billion by the end of 2015. Clinical ... industry, as it is estimated that approximately 80% ... tests. In addition to diagnosing patients, clinical lab ... progression, monitor drug treatment and conditions, and determine ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Exotic Automation & ... solutions and components, is opening its latest Parker Store retail location in Ann, ... Exotic’s second major expansion in Metropolitan Detroit in less than a year. The ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... SonaCare Medical, LLC, ... that it received de novo clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... of prostate tissue. Sonablate® is the first High Intensity Therapeutic Ultrasound (HITU) device ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Jersey (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... enhance the educational opportunities for school age children in the areas of Science, ... for all sectors of the national economy, and the program aims to increase ...
Breaking Biology Technology: