Main Article: Mulch and Mulching
Mulch is a chemical or non-chemical horticultural plant protection tool applied on the soil surface. It is used to:
- Check evaporation or simply, water conservation.
- Suppress unwanted growths e.g., weeds.
- Check soil erosion.
|Category||Advance agricultural technique|
|Field of Application||Olericulture or Vegetable Cultivation, Floriculture or cultivation of flower crops.|
|Best Compatible With||Drip irrigation|
|2.||Types of Mulch|
|3.||Importance of Mulch or Mulching|
|4.||Reviewing Each Mulch|
|5.||Explanation of Post Related Words|
|6.||Frequently Asked Questions|
‘It is a natural or artificial product, or layer of plant residues or other materials applied over the surface of soil’.
How mulching affects following factors in soil?
- Soil water.
- Soil salinity.
- Soil temperature.
- Soil erodibility.
- Soil nutrition.
- Biological regime.
- Soil structure.
Soil water is one of the most important thing in agriculture. Success or failure of a crop depends on the total available water to the crop during whole crop season. Mulch like ‘plastic mulch’ help to reduce the loss of soil moisture through evaporation. Runoff control and increased infiltration are also affected by munching. The practice ‘weed control using mulch’ directly conserve soil moisture.
Reducing evaporation and subsequent return of the salts to the leached zone maintaining soil salinity.
A mulch works as the anti radiation shield. Maintain soil temperature at desired level in relatively low temperature areas. Example- plastic mulch.
All types of mulches help to reduce soil erosion.
Stubble and straw ad organic matter in soil when used as mulch. It also increases mineral solubility.
It works in following ways
- First- Organic matter is added in soil.
- Second- It helps to increase microbial activities around plant roots.
Soil structure is improved.
2. Types of Mulches
- Plastic mulch.
- Soil mulch.
- Straw mulch.
- Stubble mulch.
- Vertical mulch.
Plastic mulch is an artificial mulch used to cover specific piece of soil, mainly, in vegetable cultivation. Plastic mulches are often used in advanced farming programmes such as vegetable production using drip system. Examples of plastic mulches are polyethylene sheets and polyvinyl chloride, etc.
Loosen soil, clods etc., work as soil mulch. It reduces evaporation. Soil mulches are often created after sowing/planting, example is intercultural operations. Preparation of soil for chickpea is based on forming soil mulch to conserve moisture in soil and to provide ideal condition for chickpea plants.
All types of organic straw are used as mulch. Example- paddy straw, wooden straw etc. It should be free from harmful chemical.
Crop residue like arhar, sunhemp (green manure), wheat stalk, cotton stalk etc., are used as stubble mulch.
This is very effective. It is done below soil surface. The method include following steps:
- Pits are made.
- These slots are filled with organic matters such as vermicompost and FYM.
- Kept open for longer period.
3. Importance of Mulch or Mulching
- Increased crop yield.
- Beneficial to micro-organism.
Increased Crop Yield
Average and overall crop yield is increased with the use of mulch. This due to weed control and water conservation by mulch.
Beneficial to Micro-organism
Mulch creates ideal condition for the beneficial micro-organism such as fungi and bacteria in soil around root zone.
4. Reviewing Each Mulch
- Plastic mulch.
- Live mulch.
- Plant residue.
- Soil mulch.
- Verticals mulch.
- Other substances used as mulch.
Plastic mulches are very important types of mulch. Generally two types of plastic mulches are used at commercial scale- one is black plastic much and second is black plastic mulch. Always purchase plastic mulch, especially gray plastic mulch, if possible.
Live mulches are environment friendly as well as cheap. Always use live mulches where soil erosion is a common problem. Although, it can become a serious problem if not managed properly.
Plant residues are very good option of mulching. A farmer should always go with plant residue as mulch if possible.
Use soil of same field as mulch. Using soil from different field can alter the chemical composition of the crop field e.g., change in soil salinity.
Verticle mulch is an advanced technology of mulching. Farmers should adopt this. It is very good.
5. Explanation of Post Related Words
Water conservation is an agronomic practice in the field of agriculture in which different tactics are adopted to reduce the rapid loss of water from soil.
6. Other Substances Used as Mulch
FYM, vermicompost, jute bags etc., can be used as mulch.
It is the quantity of water present in agriculture-land or soil. Example- capillary water, gravitational water, etc.
It is the amount of salinity present in soil. It is the salt content in soil.
It is temperature of soil particles. It is measured by using soil thermometer.
It is non-resistance property of soils to erosion. Soil is susceptible to different types of erosion e.g., wind erosion, water erosion etc.
Variety of nutrients available in soil.
It can be understood as micro-ecological-system including organic matters and microbes along with plant as central object.
It is the arrangement of soil particles having pores among them.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
Question 01. Is polythene sheet (mulch) degradable?
Answer: No, it is non-degradable by nature.
Question 02. What is the life span of polythene mulch?
Answer: Commercial life span is one year.
Question 03. Which plastic mulch is best?
Answer: Mulch causing reflecting effect against both the post and UV lights, such as gray plastic mulch.