Types of Mulch: Best Mulching Sheets for Vegetable Crops


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.
TypeAgri technique
CategoryAdvance agricultural technique
Field of ApplicationOlericulture or Vegetable Cultivation, Floriculture or cultivation of flower crops.
Best Compatible WithDrip irrigation


S.N.Main Headings
2.Types of Mulch
3.Importance of Mulch or Mulching
4.Reviewing Each Mulch
5.Explanation of Post Related Words
6.Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction


‘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

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.

Soil Salinity

Reducing evaporation and subsequent return of the salts to the leached zone maintaining soil salinity.

Soil Temperature

A mulch works as the anti radiation shield. Maintain soil temperature at desired level in relatively low temperature areas. Example- plastic mulch.

Soil Erodibility

All types of mulches help to reduce soil erosion.

Soil Nutrient

Stubble and straw ad organic matter in soil when used as mulch. It also increases mineral solubility.

Biological Regime

It works in following ways

  • First- Organic matter is added in soil.
  • Second- It helps to increase microbial activities around plant roots.

Soil Structure

Soil structure is improved.

2. Types of Mulches

  • Plastic mulch.
  • Soil mulch.
  • Straw mulch.
  • Stubble mulch.
  • Vertical mulch.

Plastic 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.

Soil Mulch

Soil mulch around a yam plant

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.

Straw mulch

All types of organic straw are used as mulch. Example- paddy straw, wooden straw etc. It should be free from harmful chemical.

Stubble Mulch

Crop residue like arhar, sunhemp (green manure), wheat stalk, cotton stalk etc., are used as stubble mulch.

Vertical Mulching

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

  1. Plastic mulch.
  2. Live mulch.
  3. Plant residue.
  4. Soil mulch.
  5. Verticals mulch.
  6. Other substances used as mulch.

Plastic 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 Mulch

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 Residue

Plant residues are very good option of mulching. A farmer should always go with plant residue as mulch if possible.

Soil Mulch

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

Verticle mulch is an advanced technology of mulching. Farmers should adopt this. It is very good.

5. Explanation of Post Related Words

Water Conservation

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.

Soil Water

It is the quantity of water present in agriculture-land or soil. Example- capillary water, gravitational water, etc.

Soil Salinity

It is the amount of salinity present in soil. It is the salt content in soil.

Soil Temperature

It is temperature of soil particles. It is measured by using soil thermometer.

Soil Erodibility

It is non-resistance property of soils to erosion. Soil is susceptible to different types of erosion e.g., wind erosion, water erosion etc.

Soil Nutrition

Variety of nutrients available in soil.

Biological Regime

It can be understood as micro-ecological-system including organic matters and microbes along with plant as central object.

Soil Structure

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.

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