Green plastic mulch is used on most vine crops for early harvest and increased yield. With green films, sunlight is converted to heat at a higher rate, exposing crops to warmer air. Heat loving vegetables such as cucurbits often benefit from this increased heat by growing faster and becoming more productive. Test results showed an average 35% increase in cantaloupe yield over a three year period. Watermelons, cucumbers and zucchini also benefit from green plastic mulch. A herbicide is recommended but not necessary when using green plastic mulch.
Green Plastic Mulch 1.0 mil is the latest development in plastic mulch technology. In a general sense, this new mulch is a "hybrid" between clear and black mulches. With clear mulch, all wave lengths of radiation (light) are transmitted through the mulch. The long wavelengths (infra-red radiation) are converted to heat under the clear film and provide the greatest amount of soil warming of all mulches. However, photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) is also transmitted and responsible for the vigorous weed growth under clear mulch. Because black mulch blocks PAR, weeds do not grow underneath. Soil warming occurs as the black mulch absorbs solar radiation and then conducts the heat into the soil. Soil temperature under black is lower than under clear mulch.
This is where Green comes into the picture. By utilizing a carefully balanced blend of polyethylene with a specific light modifying pigment, Green mulch transmits near infra-red radiation and, at the same time, blocks PAR. Therefore, it simultaneously generates almost as much heat as clear mulch and suppresses weeds like black mulch. This is a win-win development for growers.
Crops Suited for Green Plastic Mulch:
Warm-season and cool-season crops that are transplanted, such as melons, and for direct-seeded crops that are seeded in hills such as melons, cucumbers, and squash.
Small Fruits: Strawberries in the annual hill system
Cut Flowers: Because of many different species of flowers, on-farm trials should be made
Advantages of using Green Mulch:
A tough 1.0 mil, embossed high-density plastic mulch film
Earlier and higher yields than with black mulch
Soil warming of 8-10 degrees F
Easy field removal at end of season
Conservation of water and soil nutrients
Mulch 1.0 mil Installation Tips:
Prepare the soil well. It should be smooth and pliable
Do not lay the paper on dry soil. The beds should be firm.
To prevent tearing, adjust wheels on plastic laying machines so that they do not stretch the paper.
Plastic should be in close contact with the soil for maximum heat transfer into the soil.
Be sure the edges of the plastic are well secured with soil.