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Silver / Black Film Mulch laid on farmland

Mulch Film CJ-100

Silver / Black Mulch Film for weed control, pest prevention, loose soil, stable temperature, stable moisture, soil conservation, resist rainstorm

Description

Color ground mulch film is a guard of farmland and crops. Ground mulch film can control the growth of weeds. While the mulch film cover on the land can resist heavy rain and help soil conservation under the film.
It can keep loose soil, and also keep temperature stable, i.e. cooler while in hot weather or warmer in winter.
Also the mulch will keep the soil moisture stable for crop no matter in dry or raining season.
We provide first-grade PE White/Black , Silver/black mulch film, also Black film mulch and Black Woven Mulch.
When to use silver/black or white/black mulch film, the bright (silver or white) side must be laid upward to reflect the sunlit for pests prevent, the Black side lay downward to block sunlight for weed cotrol.

As a testing result, it shows that the White/Black mulch can be more effective in driving away insect away from plants than Silver/Black mulch does.

The width, thickness, length of film for different dimension can be customized, specially for for your need. Also, planting hole on the much can be punched for free as long as the order is over 40,000 meters.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertigation

Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, used for soil amendments, water amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.

Fertigation is related to chemigation, the injection of chemicals into an irrigation system. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably however chemigation is generally a more controlled and regulated process due to the nature of the chemicals used. Chemigation often involves insecticides herbicides, and fungicides, some of which pose health threat to humans, animals, and the environment.


Contents
Uses
Fertigation is practiced extensively in commercial agriculture and horticulture. Fertigation is also increasingly being used for landscaping as dispenser units become more reliable and easier to use. Fertigation is used to add additional nutrients or to correct nutrient deficiencies detected in plant tissue analysis. It is usually practiced on the high-value crops such as vegetables, turf, fruit trees, and ornamentals.

Commonly used nutrients
Most plant nutrients can be applied through irrigation systems. Nitrogen is the most commonly used plant nutrient. Naturally occurring nitrogen (N2) is a diatomic molecule which makes up approximately 80% of the earth’s atmosphere. Most plants cannot directly consume diatomic nitrogen, therefore nitrogen must be contained as a component of other chemical substances which plants can consume. Commonly, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea are used as bioavailable sources of nitrogen. Other nutrients needed by plants include phosphorus and potassium. Like nitrogen, plants require these substances to live but they must be contained in other chemical substances such as monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate to serve as bioavailable nutrients. A common source of potassium is muriate of potash which is chemically potassium chloride.[1] A soil fertility analysis is used to determine which of the more stable nutrients should be used.

Advantages
The benefits of fertigation methods over conventional or drop-fertilizing methods include:

Increased nutrient absorption by plants.
Accurate placement of nutrient, where the water goes the nutrient goes as well.
Ability to "microdose", feeding the plants just enough so nutrients can be absorbed and are not left to be washed down to storm water next time it rains.
Reduction of fertilizer, chemicals, and water needed.
Reduced leaching of chemicals into the water supply.
Reduced water consumption due to the plant's increased root mass's ability to trap and hold water.
Application of nutrients can be controlled at the precise time and rate necessary.
Minimized risk of the roots contracting soil borne diseases through the contaminated soil.
Reduction of soil erosion issues as the nutrients are pumped through the water drip system. Leaching is decreased often through methods used to employ fertigation.
Disadvantages
Concentration of the solution may decrease as the fertilizer dissolves, this depends on equipment selection. If poorly selected may lead to poor nutrient placement.
The water supply for fertigation is to be kept separate from the domestic water supply to avoid contamination.
Possible pressure loss in the main irrigation line.
The process is dependent on the water supply's non-restriction by drought rationing.
Methods used
Drip irrigation – Less wasteful than sprinklers. It is not only more efficient for fertilizer usage, but can also be for maximizing nutrient uptake in plants like cotton.[2] Drip irrigation using fertigation can also increase yield and quality of fruit and flowers, especially in subsurface drip systems rather than above surface drip tape.[3]
Sprinkler systems-Increases leaf and fruit quality.
Continuous application-Fertilizer is supplied at a constant rate.
Three-stage application-Irrigation starts without fertilizers. Fertilizers are applied later in the process.
Proportional application-Injection rate is proportional to water discharge rate.
Quantitative application-Nutrient solution is applied in a calculated amount to each irrigation block.
Other methods of application include the lateral move, the traveler gun, and solid set systems.
System design
Fertigation assists distribution of fertilizers for farmers. The simplest type of fertigation system consists of a tank with a pump, distribution pipes, capillaries, and a dripper pen.

All systems should be placed on a raised or sealed platform, not in direct contact with the earth. Each system should also be fitted with chemical spill trays.

Because of the potential risk of contamination in the potable (drinking) water supply, a backflow prevention device is required for most fertigation systems. Backflow requirements may vary greatly. Therefore, it is very important to understand the proper level of backflow prevention required by law. In the United States, the minimum backflow protection is usually determined by state regulation. Each city or town may set the level of protection required.

See also
Sustainable agriculture
Soil defertilisation
Water conservation
Drip irrigation
Foliar feeding
References
"Potassium Fertilizers". Penn State Extension (Penn State Extension).
Hou, Z., Li, P., Li, B. et al. Plant Soil (2007) 290: 115. doi:10.1007/s11104-006-9140-1
Elhindi, Khalid, El-Hendawy, Salah, Abdel-Salam, Eslam, Elgorban, Abdallah, & Ahmed, Mukhtar. (2016). Impacts of fertigation via surface and subsurface drip irrigation on growth rate, yield and flower quality of Zinnia elegans. Bragantia, 75(1), 96-107. Epub December 22, 2015.https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4499.176
Bibliography
Asadi, M.E., 1998. "Water and nitrogen management to reduce impact of nitrates". Proceedings of the 5th International Agricultural Engineering conference, December 7–10, Bangkok, Thailand, PP.602–616.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S.2000. "Impact of nitrogen fertilizer use on the environment". Proceedings of the 6th International Agricultural Engineering Conference, December 4–7, Bangkok, Thailand. PP.413–423.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S., Gupta, A.D., Loof, R., and Hansen, G.K. 2002. "Impacts of fertigation Via sprinkler irrigation on nitrate leaching and corn yield on an acid - sulphate soil in Thailand. Agricultural Water Management" 52(3): 197-213.
Asadi, M.E., 2004. "Optimum utilization of water and nitrogen fertilizers in sustainable agriculture". Programme and Abstracts N2004. The Third International Nitrogen Conference. October 12–16, Nanjing, China. p. 68.
Asadi, M.E., 2005. "Fertigation as an engineering system to enhance nitrogen fertilizer efficiency". Proceedings of the Second International Congress: Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and Environment, (ITAFE), October 12–14, Adana, Turkey, pp. 525–532.
Department of Natural Resources, Environment, "Fertigation systems." Web. 4 May 2009.
Hanson, Blaine R., Hopmans, Jan, Simunek, Jirka. "Effect of Fertigation Strategy on Nitrogen Availability and Nitrate Leaching using Microirrigation". HortScience 2005 40: 1096
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, www.ncagr.com/fooddrug/pesticid/chemigation2003.pdf "Chemigation & Fertigation". (2003) 4 May 2009.
Neilsen, Gerry, Kappel, Frank, Neilsen, Denise. "Fertigation Method Affects Performance of `Lapins' Sweet Cherry on Gisela 5 Rootstock". HortScience 2004 39: 1716–1721
NSW department of primary industries, "Horticultural fertigation". 2000.
Suhaimi, M. Yaseer; Mohammad, A.M.; Mahamud, S.; Khadzir, D. (July 18, 2012). "Effects of substrates on growth and yield of ginger cultivated using soilless culture", Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Science, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute 40(2) pp. 159 - 168. (Selangor)
vte
Plant nutrition / Fertilizer
Categories: Agricultural terminology Fertilizers Irrigation Lawncare Plant nutrition



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulch

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.

A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips). It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms. The process is used both in commercial crop production and in gardening, and when applied correctly, can dramatically improve soil productivity.[1]


Contents
Uses
Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics.[2] They are applied to the soil surface,[3] around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops. Mulch layers are normally 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more deep when applied.[4][5]

They are applied at various times of the year depending on the purpose. Towards the beginning of the growing season, mulches serve initially to warm the soil by helping it retain heat which is lost during the night. This allows early seeding and transplanting of certain crops, and encourages faster growth. As the season progresses, mulch stabilizes the soil temperature and moisture, and prevents the growing of weeds from seeds.[6] In temperate climates, the effect of mulch is dependent upon the time of year they are applied and when applied in fall and winter, are used to delay the growth of perennial plants in the spring or prevent growth in winter during warm spells, which limits freeze thaw damage.[7]

The effect of mulch upon soil moisture content is complex. Mulch forms a layer between the soil and the atmosphere preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface, thus reducing evaporation. However, mulch can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains.

In order to maximise the benefits of mulch, while minimizing its negative influences, it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.[8] However, permanent mulch is also widely used and valued for its simplicity, as popularized by author Ruth Stout, who said, "My way is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both sides of my vegetable and flower garden all year long. As it decays and enriches the soils, I add more."[9]

Plastic mulch used in large-scale commercial production is laid down with a tractor-drawn or standalone layer of plastic mulch. This is usually part of a sophisticated mechanical process, where raised beds are formed, plastic is rolled out on top, and seedlings are transplanted through it. Drip irrigation is often required, with drip tape laid under the plastic, as plastic mulch is impermeable to water.

Materials

Rubber mulch nuggets in a playground. The white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires from which the mulch is made.

Shredded wood used as mulch. This type of mulch is often dyed to improve its appearance in the landscape.

Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "pinestraw" in the southern US.

Aged Compost mulch on a flower bed

Crushed stone mulch

Spring daffodils push through shredded wood mulch
Materials used as mulches vary and depend on a number of factors. Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil—including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition, how clean it is—some can contain weed seeds or plant pathogens.[6]

A variety of materials are used as mulch:

Organic residues: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, animal manure, etc. Many of these materials also act as a direct composting system, such as the mulched clippings of a mulching lawn mower, or other organics applied as sheet composting.
Compost: fully composted materials are used to avoid possible phytotoxicity problems. Materials that are free of seeds are ideally used, to prevent weeds being introduced by the mulch.
Old carpet (synthetic or natural): makes a free, readily available mulch.[10]
Rubber mulch: made from recycled tire rubber.
Plastic mulch: crops grow through slits or holes in thin plastic sheeting. This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year (disposal of plastic mulch is cited as an environmental problem).
Rock and gravel can also be used as a mulch. In cooler climates the heat retained by rocks may extend the growing season.
In some areas of the United States, such as central Pennsylvania and northern California, mulch is often referred to as "tanbark", even by manufacturers and distributors. In these areas, the word "mulch" is used specifically to refer to very fine tanbark or peat moss.

Organic mulches

mulching_coconut farm
Organic mulches decay over time and are temporary. The way a particular organic mulch decomposes and reacts to wetting by rain and dew affects its usefulness.

Some mulches such as straw, peat, sawdust and other wood products may for a while negatively affect plant growth because of their wide carbon to nitrogen ratio,[11] because bacteria and fungi that decompose the materials remove nitrogen from the surrounding soil for growth.[12][13] However, whether this effect has any practical impact on gardens is disputed by researchers and the experience of gardeners.[14] Organic mulches can mat down, forming a barrier that blocks water and air flow between the soil and the atmosphere. Vertically applied organic mulches can wick water from the soil to the surface, which can dry out the soil.[15] Mulch made with wood can contain or feed termites, so care must be taken about not placing mulch too close to houses or building that can be damaged by those insects. Some mulch manufacturers recommend putting mulch several inches away from buildings.

Commonly available organic mulches include:[6]

Leaves
Leaves from deciduous trees, which drop their foliage in the autumn/fall. They tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so are often chopped or shredded before application. As they decompose they adhere to each other but also allow water and moisture to seep down to the soil surface. Thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth lawn grass and other plants. Dry leaves are used as winter mulches to protect plants from freezing and thawing in areas with cold winters; they are normally removed during spring.
Grass clippings
Grass clippings, from mowed lawns are sometimes collected and used elsewhere as mulch. Grass clippings are dense and tend to mat down, so are mixed with tree leaves or rough compost to provide aeration and to facilitate their decomposition without smelly putrefaction. Rotting fresh grass clippings can damage plants; their rotting often produces a damaging buildup of trapped heat. Grass clippings are often dried thoroughly before application, which mediates against rapid decomposition and excessive heat generation. Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil, conversely the routine removal of grass clippings from the lawn results in nitrogen deficiency for the lawn.
Peat moss
Peat moss, or sphagnum peat, is long lasting and packaged, making it convenient and popular as a mulch. When wetted and dried, it can form a dense crust that does not allow water to soak in. When dry it can also burn, producing a smoldering fire. It is sometimes mixed with pine needles to produce a mulch that is friable. It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid loving plants.
However peat bogs are a valuable wildlife habitat, and peat is also one of the largest stores of carbon (in Britain, out of a total estimated 9952 million tonnes of carbon in British vegetation and soils, 6948 million tonnes carbon are estimated to be in Scottish, mostly peatland, soils[16]), so gardeners who wish to protect the environment will choose more sustainable alternatives.[17]

Arborist Wood Chips
Wood chips are a byproduct of the pruning of trees by arborists, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. The decay of freshly produced chips from recently living woody plants, consumes nitrate; this is often off set with a light application of a high-nitrate fertilizer. Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases. They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance. Wood chips come in various colors.
Woodchip mulch
Woodchip mulch is a byproduct of reprocessing used (untreated) timber (usually packaging pallets), to dispose of wood waste by creating woodchip mulch. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. Woodchip mulch is often used under trees, shrubs or large planting areas and can last much longer than arborist mulch. In addition, many consider woodchip mulch to be visually appealing, as it comes in various colors. Woodchips can also be reprocessed into playground woodchip to be used as an impact-attenuating playground surfacing.
Bark chips

Bark chips
Bark chips of various grades are produced from the outer corky bark layer of timber trees. Sizes vary from thin shredded strands to large coarse blocks. The finer types are very attractive but have a large exposed surface area that leads to quicker decay. Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates. Bark chips are also available in various colors.
Straw mulch / field hay / salt hay

Permaculture garden with a fruit tree, herbs, flowers and vegetables mulched with hay
Straw mulch or field hay or salt hay are lightweight and normally sold in compressed bales. They have an unkempt look and are used in vegetable gardens and as a winter covering. They are biodegradable and neutral in pH. They have good moisture retention and weed controlling properties but also are more likely to be contaminated with weed seeds. Salt hay is less likely to have weed seeds than field hay. Straw mulch is also available in various colors.
Pine straw
The needles that drop from pine trees is termed pine straw. It is available in bales. Pine straw has an attractive look and is used in landscape and garden settings. On application pine needles tend to weave together, a characteristic that helps the mulch hold storm water on steeper slopes. This interlocking tendency combined with a resistance to floating gives it further advantages in maintaining cover and preventing soil erosion. The interlocking tendency also helps keep the mulch structure from collapsing and forming a barrier to infiltration.[18] Pine straw is reputed to create ideal conditions for acid-loving plants. Pine straw may help to acidify soils but studies indicate this effect is often too small to be measurable. [19]
Cardboard / newspaper
Cardboard or newspaper can be used as mulches. These are best used as a base layer upon which a heavier mulch such as compost is placed to prevent the lighter cardboard/newspaper layer from blowing away. By incorporating a layer of cardboard/newspaper into a mulch, the quantity of heavier mulch can be reduced, whilst improving the weed suppressant and moisture retaining properties of the mulch.[8] However, additional labour is expended when planting through a mulch containing a cardboard/newspaper layer, as holes must be cut for each plant. Sowing seed through mulches containing a cardboard/newspaper layer is impractical. Application of newspaper mulch in windy weather can be facilitated by briefly pre-soaking the newspaper in water to increase its weight.
Carpet
Synthetic carpet that is composed of artificial fibers may be removed after planting to prevent fibers taking a long time to decompose, whereas carpet made from natural fibers may be kept in place, blocking competition from weeds. Rain is absorbed by carpet and then slowly released into the soil, reducing watering needs.[10]
Colored mulch
Some organic mulches are colored red, brown, black, and other colors. Isopropanolamine, specifically 1-Amino-2-propanol or DOW™ monoisopropanolamine, may be used as a pigment dispersant and color fastener in these mulches.[20][21][22][23] Types of mulch which can be dyed include: wood chips, bark chips (barkdust) and pine straw. Colored mulch is made by dyeing the mulch in a water-based solution of colorant and chemical binder. When colored mulch first entered the market, most formulas were suspected to contain toxic, heavy metals and other contaminates. Today, “current investigations indicate that mulch colorants pose no threat to people, pets or the environment. The dyes currently used by the mulch and soil industry are similar to those used in the cosmetic and other manufacturing industries (i.e., iron oxide),” as stated by the Mulch and Soil Council.[24] Colored mulch can be applied anywhere non-colored mulch is used (such as large bedded areas or around plants) and features many of the same gardening benefits as traditional mulch, such as improving soil productivity and retaining moisture.[25] As mulch decomposes, just as with non-colored mulch, more mulch may need to be added to continue providing benefits to the soil and plants. However, if mulch is faded, spraying dye to previously spread mulch in order to restore color is an option.[26]

Anaerobic (sour) mulch
Mulch normally smells like freshly cut wood, but sometimes develops a toxicity that causes it to smell like vinegar, ammonia, sulfur or silage. This happens when material with ample nitrogen content is not rotated often enough and it forms pockets of increased decomposition. When this occurs, the process may become anaerobic and produce these phytotoxic materials in small quantities. Once exposed to the air, the process quickly reverts to an aerobic process, but these toxic materials may be present for a period of time. If the mulch is placed around plants before the toxicity has had a chance to dissipate, then the plants could very likely be damaged or killed depending on their hardiness. Plants that are predominantly low to the ground or freshly planted are the most susceptible, and the phytotoxicity may prevent germination of some seeds.[27]

If sour mulch is applied and there is plant kill, the best thing to do is to water the mulch heavily. Water dissipates the chemicals faster and refreshes the plants. Removing the offending mulch may have little effect, because by the time plant kill is noticed, most of the toxicity is already dissipated. While testing after plant kill will not likely turn up anything, a simple pH check may reveal high acidity, in the range of 3.8 to 5.6 instead of the normal range of 6.0 to 7.2. Finally, placing a bit of the offending mulch around another plant to check for plant kill will verify if the toxicity has departed. If the new plant is also killed, then sour mulch is probably not the problem.

Groundcovers (living mulches)
Main articles: Groundcovers and Living mulch
Groundcovers are plants which grow close to the ground, under the main crop, to slow the development of weeds and provide other benefits of mulch. They are usually fast-growing plants that continue growing with the main crops. By contrast, cover crops are incorporated into the soil or killed with herbicides. However, live mulches also may need to be mechanically or chemically killed eventually to prevent competition with the main crop.[28]

Some groundcovers can perform additional roles in the garden such as nitrogen fixation in the case of clovers, dynamic accumulation of nutrients from the subsoil in the case of creeping comfrey (Symphytum ibericum), and even food production in the case of Rubus tricolor.[29]

On-site production
Owing to the great bulk of mulch which is often required on a site, it is often impractical and expensive to source and import sufficient mulch materials. An alternative to importing mulch materials is to grow them on site in a "mulch garden" – an area of the site dedicated entirely to the production of mulch which is then transferred to the growing area.[29] Mulch gardens should be sited as close as possible to the growing area so as to facilitate transfer of mulch materials.[29]

Mulching (composting) over unwanted plants
Main article: Sheet mulching
Sufficient mulch over plants will destroy them, and may be more advantageous than using herbicide, cutting, mowing, pulling, raking, or tilling. The higher the temperature that this "mulch" is composted, the quicker the reduction of undesirable materials. "Undesirable materials" may include living seed, plant "trash", as well as pathogens such as from animal feces, urine (e.g. hantavirus), fleas, lice, ticks, etc.

In some ways this improves the soil by attracting and feeding earthworms, and adding humus. Earthworms "till" the soil, and their feces are among the best fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Urine may be toxic to plants if applied to growing areas undiluted. See Compost ingredients: Human Waste.

Polypropylene and polyethylene mulch
Polypropylene mulch is made up of polypropylene polymers where polyethylene mulch is made up of polyethylene polymers. These mulches are commonly used in many plastics. Polyethylene is used mainly for weed reduction, where polypropylene is used mainly on perennials.[30] This mulch is placed on top of the soil and can be done by machine or hand with pegs to keep the mulch tight against the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of work a farmer may have to do, and the amount of herbicides applied during the growing period. The black and clear mulches capture sunlight and warm the soil increasing the growth rate. White and other reflective colours will also warm the soil, but they do not suppress weeds as well.[31] This mulch may require other sources of obtaining water such as drip irrigation since it can reduce the amount of water that reaches the soil.[31] This mulch needs to be manually removed at the end of the season since when it starts to break down it breaks down into smaller pieces.[32] If the mulch is not removed before it starts to break down eventually it will break down into ketones and aldehydes polluting the soil.[32] This mulch is technically biodegradable but does not break down into the same materials the more natural biodegradable mulch does.

Biodegradable mulch
Quality biodegradable mulches are made out of plant starches and sugars or polyester fibers. These starches can come from plants such as wheat and corn.[33] These mulch films may be a bit more permeable allowing more water into the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of herbicides used and manual labor farmers may have to do throughout the growing season. At the end of the season these mulches will start to break down from heat. Microorganisms in the soil break down the mulch into two components, water and CO2, leaving no toxic residues behind.[33] This source of mulch is even less manual labor since it does not need to be removed at the end of the season and can actually be tilled into the soil.[33] With this mulch it is important to take into consideration that it's much more delicate than other kinds. It should be placed on a day which is not too hot and with less tension than other synthetic mulches.[33] These also can be placed by machine or hand but it is ideal to have a more starchy mulch that will allow it to stick to the soil better.

See also
icon Gardening portal
Forestry mulching
Good Agricultural Practices
Rubber mulch
Plasticulture
Integrated pest management
Living mulch
Mulching machine
References
RHS A–Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
Alfred J. Turgeon; Lambert Blanchard McCarty; Nick Edward Christians (2009). Weed control in turf and ornamentals. Prentice Hall. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-13-159122-6.
Mahesh K. Upadhyaya; Robert E. Blackshaw (2007). Non-chemical Weed Management: Principles, Concepts and Technology. CABI. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-84593-291-6.
Vegetable Gardening: Growing and Harvesting Vegetables. Murdoch Books. 2004. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-1-74045-519-0.
Dennis R. Pittenger (2002). California Master Gardener Handbook. UCANR Publications. pp. 567–. ISBN 978-1-879906-54-9.
Louise; Bush-Brown, James (1996). America's garden book. New York: Macmillan USA. p. 768. ISBN 0-02-860995-6{{inconsistent citations}}
Leon C. Snyder (2000). Gardening in the Upper Midwest. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-8166-3838-3.
Patrick Whitefield, 2004, The Earth Care Manual, Permanent Publications, ISBN 978-1-85623-021-6
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 6-7. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
Galloway, David. "Get Your New Garden Ready for Spring with Old Carpet". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
http://www.eau.ee/~agronomy/vol07Spec1/p7sI53.pdf[permanent dead link]
http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=3111&Type=2
Jeff Gillman (1 February 2008). The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawnbacks, and the Bottom Line. Timber Press. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-1-60469-005-7.
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 192-193. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
David A. Bainbridge (11 June 2007). A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands. Island Press. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-61091-082-8.
Milne, R.; T. A. Brown (1997). "Carbon in the vegetation and soils of Great Britain". Journal of Environmental Management. 49: 413–433. doi:10.1006/jema.1995.0118.
Walker, John (2011). How to Create an Eco Garden: The practical guide to greener, planet-friendly gardening. Wigston, Leicestershire: Aquamarine. p. 33. ISBN 9781903141892.
Taylor, Eric L.; Foster, Darwin. "Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch". Texas A&M. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Tips On Using Pine Straw For Garden Mulch". 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Product Information - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine (MIPA)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Product Safety Assessment - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Mulch_Magic_Red.pdf". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Agriculture" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
"Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Purdue University". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Is There a Spray You Can Use to Renew Your Mulch Color?". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Beware of Sour Mulch". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
Brandsaeter et al. 1998, Tharp and Kells, 2001
Jacke and Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardening, vol. II
Dovorak, P. "BLACK POLYPROPYLENE MULCH TEXTILE IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE" (PDF). Czech University of Life Science Prague, Kamýcká. 52. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Shonbeck, Dr. Mark (12 September 2012). "Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management". Extension. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Corbin, A (2013). "Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2014.
"Biodegradable Mulch Demonstrations". Penn State Extension. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
External links
Look up mulch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Components
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Organizations
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People in permaculture Bill Mollison Brad Lancaster David Blume David Holmgren Geoff LawtonIanto Evans Patrick Whitefield Paul Stamets Paul Wheaton Robyn FrancisRuth StoutSepp Holzer
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Features
Silver / Black Mulch Film is a plastic film on the farmland laid with silver face up to reflect sunshine for pests prevent. Some pests are hidden under leaves. While the black face is downward to shelter the earth from sunshine, that to control the growth of weeds. Also the mulch film cover on the land can resist torrential rain and protect the soil under the film.
The soil under this mulch can keep temperature lower while air is hot or keep temperature higher while air is cold.
Under the mulch the moisture of soil is rather suitable for crop no matter in dry season or rain season.
We make White / Black mulch too. That can be dramatically reducing the use of insecticide which greatly benefit to the environment we lived on.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertigation

Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, used for soil amendments, water amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.

Fertigation is related to chemigation, the injection of chemicals into an irrigation system. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably however chemigation is generally a more controlled and regulated process due to the nature of the chemicals used. Chemigation often involves insecticides herbicides, and fungicides, some of which pose health threat to humans, animals, and the environment.


Contents
Uses
Fertigation is practiced extensively in commercial agriculture and horticulture. Fertigation is also increasingly being used for landscaping as dispenser units become more reliable and easier to use. Fertigation is used to add additional nutrients or to correct nutrient deficiencies detected in plant tissue analysis. It is usually practiced on the high-value crops such as vegetables, turf, fruit trees, and ornamentals.

Commonly used nutrients
Most plant nutrients can be applied through irrigation systems. Nitrogen is the most commonly used plant nutrient. Naturally occurring nitrogen (N2) is a diatomic molecule which makes up approximately 80% of the earth’s atmosphere. Most plants cannot directly consume diatomic nitrogen, therefore nitrogen must be contained as a component of other chemical substances which plants can consume. Commonly, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea are used as bioavailable sources of nitrogen. Other nutrients needed by plants include phosphorus and potassium. Like nitrogen, plants require these substances to live but they must be contained in other chemical substances such as monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate to serve as bioavailable nutrients. A common source of potassium is muriate of potash which is chemically potassium chloride.[1] A soil fertility analysis is used to determine which of the more stable nutrients should be used.

Advantages
The benefits of fertigation methods over conventional or drop-fertilizing methods include:

Increased nutrient absorption by plants.
Accurate placement of nutrient, where the water goes the nutrient goes as well.
Ability to "microdose", feeding the plants just enough so nutrients can be absorbed and are not left to be washed down to storm water next time it rains.
Reduction of fertilizer, chemicals, and water needed.
Reduced leaching of chemicals into the water supply.
Reduced water consumption due to the plant's increased root mass's ability to trap and hold water.
Application of nutrients can be controlled at the precise time and rate necessary.
Minimized risk of the roots contracting soil borne diseases through the contaminated soil.
Reduction of soil erosion issues as the nutrients are pumped through the water drip system. Leaching is decreased often through methods used to employ fertigation.
Disadvantages
Concentration of the solution may decrease as the fertilizer dissolves, this depends on equipment selection. If poorly selected may lead to poor nutrient placement.
The water supply for fertigation is to be kept separate from the domestic water supply to avoid contamination.
Possible pressure loss in the main irrigation line.
The process is dependent on the water supply's non-restriction by drought rationing.
Methods used
Drip irrigation – Less wasteful than sprinklers. It is not only more efficient for fertilizer usage, but can also be for maximizing nutrient uptake in plants like cotton.[2] Drip irrigation using fertigation can also increase yield and quality of fruit and flowers, especially in subsurface drip systems rather than above surface drip tape.[3]
Sprinkler systems-Increases leaf and fruit quality.
Continuous application-Fertilizer is supplied at a constant rate.
Three-stage application-Irrigation starts without fertilizers. Fertilizers are applied later in the process.
Proportional application-Injection rate is proportional to water discharge rate.
Quantitative application-Nutrient solution is applied in a calculated amount to each irrigation block.
Other methods of application include the lateral move, the traveler gun, and solid set systems.
System design
Fertigation assists distribution of fertilizers for farmers. The simplest type of fertigation system consists of a tank with a pump, distribution pipes, capillaries, and a dripper pen.

All systems should be placed on a raised or sealed platform, not in direct contact with the earth. Each system should also be fitted with chemical spill trays.

Because of the potential risk of contamination in the potable (drinking) water supply, a backflow prevention device is required for most fertigation systems. Backflow requirements may vary greatly. Therefore, it is very important to understand the proper level of backflow prevention required by law. In the United States, the minimum backflow protection is usually determined by state regulation. Each city or town may set the level of protection required.

See also
Sustainable agriculture
Soil defertilisation
Water conservation
Drip irrigation
Foliar feeding
References
"Potassium Fertilizers". Penn State Extension (Penn State Extension).
Hou, Z., Li, P., Li, B. et al. Plant Soil (2007) 290: 115. doi:10.1007/s11104-006-9140-1
Elhindi, Khalid, El-Hendawy, Salah, Abdel-Salam, Eslam, Elgorban, Abdallah, & Ahmed, Mukhtar. (2016). Impacts of fertigation via surface and subsurface drip irrigation on growth rate, yield and flower quality of Zinnia elegans. Bragantia, 75(1), 96-107. Epub December 22, 2015.https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4499.176
Bibliography
Asadi, M.E., 1998. "Water and nitrogen management to reduce impact of nitrates". Proceedings of the 5th International Agricultural Engineering conference, December 7–10, Bangkok, Thailand, PP.602–616.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S.2000. "Impact of nitrogen fertilizer use on the environment". Proceedings of the 6th International Agricultural Engineering Conference, December 4–7, Bangkok, Thailand. PP.413–423.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S., Gupta, A.D., Loof, R., and Hansen, G.K. 2002. "Impacts of fertigation Via sprinkler irrigation on nitrate leaching and corn yield on an acid - sulphate soil in Thailand. Agricultural Water Management" 52(3): 197-213.
Asadi, M.E., 2004. "Optimum utilization of water and nitrogen fertilizers in sustainable agriculture". Programme and Abstracts N2004. The Third International Nitrogen Conference. October 12–16, Nanjing, China. p. 68.
Asadi, M.E., 2005. "Fertigation as an engineering system to enhance nitrogen fertilizer efficiency". Proceedings of the Second International Congress: Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and Environment, (ITAFE), October 12–14, Adana, Turkey, pp. 525–532.
Department of Natural Resources, Environment, "Fertigation systems." Web. 4 May 2009.
Hanson, Blaine R., Hopmans, Jan, Simunek, Jirka. "Effect of Fertigation Strategy on Nitrogen Availability and Nitrate Leaching using Microirrigation". HortScience 2005 40: 1096
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, www.ncagr.com/fooddrug/pesticid/chemigation2003.pdf "Chemigation & Fertigation". (2003) 4 May 2009.
Neilsen, Gerry, Kappel, Frank, Neilsen, Denise. "Fertigation Method Affects Performance of `Lapins' Sweet Cherry on Gisela 5 Rootstock". HortScience 2004 39: 1716–1721
NSW department of primary industries, "Horticultural fertigation". 2000.
Suhaimi, M. Yaseer; Mohammad, A.M.; Mahamud, S.; Khadzir, D. (July 18, 2012). "Effects of substrates on growth and yield of ginger cultivated using soilless culture", Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Science, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute 40(2) pp. 159 - 168. (Selangor)
vte
Plant nutrition / Fertilizer
Categories: Agricultural terminology Fertilizers Irrigation Lawncare Plant nutrition



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulch

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.

A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips). It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms. The process is used both in commercial crop production and in gardening, and when applied correctly, can dramatically improve soil productivity.[1]


Contents
Uses
Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics.[2] They are applied to the soil surface,[3] around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops. Mulch layers are normally 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more deep when applied.[4][5]

They are applied at various times of the year depending on the purpose. Towards the beginning of the growing season, mulches serve initially to warm the soil by helping it retain heat which is lost during the night. This allows early seeding and transplanting of certain crops, and encourages faster growth. As the season progresses, mulch stabilizes the soil temperature and moisture, and prevents the growing of weeds from seeds.[6] In temperate climates, the effect of mulch is dependent upon the time of year they are applied and when applied in fall and winter, are used to delay the growth of perennial plants in the spring or prevent growth in winter during warm spells, which limits freeze thaw damage.[7]

The effect of mulch upon soil moisture content is complex. Mulch forms a layer between the soil and the atmosphere preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface, thus reducing evaporation. However, mulch can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains.

In order to maximise the benefits of mulch, while minimizing its negative influences, it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.[8] However, permanent mulch is also widely used and valued for its simplicity, as popularized by author Ruth Stout, who said, "My way is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both sides of my vegetable and flower garden all year long. As it decays and enriches the soils, I add more."[9]

Plastic mulch used in large-scale commercial production is laid down with a tractor-drawn or standalone layer of plastic mulch. This is usually part of a sophisticated mechanical process, where raised beds are formed, plastic is rolled out on top, and seedlings are transplanted through it. Drip irrigation is often required, with drip tape laid under the plastic, as plastic mulch is impermeable to water.

Materials

Rubber mulch nuggets in a playground. The white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires from which the mulch is made.

Shredded wood used as mulch. This type of mulch is often dyed to improve its appearance in the landscape.

Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "pinestraw" in the southern US.

Aged Compost mulch on a flower bed

Crushed stone mulch

Spring daffodils push through shredded wood mulch
Materials used as mulches vary and depend on a number of factors. Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil—including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition, how clean it is—some can contain weed seeds or plant pathogens.[6]

A variety of materials are used as mulch:

Organic residues: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, animal manure, etc. Many of these materials also act as a direct composting system, such as the mulched clippings of a mulching lawn mower, or other organics applied as sheet composting.
Compost: fully composted materials are used to avoid possible phytotoxicity problems. Materials that are free of seeds are ideally used, to prevent weeds being introduced by the mulch.
Old carpet (synthetic or natural): makes a free, readily available mulch.[10]
Rubber mulch: made from recycled tire rubber.
Plastic mulch: crops grow through slits or holes in thin plastic sheeting. This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year (disposal of plastic mulch is cited as an environmental problem).
Rock and gravel can also be used as a mulch. In cooler climates the heat retained by rocks may extend the growing season.
In some areas of the United States, such as central Pennsylvania and northern California, mulch is often referred to as "tanbark", even by manufacturers and distributors. In these areas, the word "mulch" is used specifically to refer to very fine tanbark or peat moss.

Organic mulches

mulching_coconut farm
Organic mulches decay over time and are temporary. The way a particular organic mulch decomposes and reacts to wetting by rain and dew affects its usefulness.

Some mulches such as straw, peat, sawdust and other wood products may for a while negatively affect plant growth because of their wide carbon to nitrogen ratio,[11] because bacteria and fungi that decompose the materials remove nitrogen from the surrounding soil for growth.[12][13] However, whether this effect has any practical impact on gardens is disputed by researchers and the experience of gardeners.[14] Organic mulches can mat down, forming a barrier that blocks water and air flow between the soil and the atmosphere. Vertically applied organic mulches can wick water from the soil to the surface, which can dry out the soil.[15] Mulch made with wood can contain or feed termites, so care must be taken about not placing mulch too close to houses or building that can be damaged by those insects. Some mulch manufacturers recommend putting mulch several inches away from buildings.

Commonly available organic mulches include:[6]

Leaves
Leaves from deciduous trees, which drop their foliage in the autumn/fall. They tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so are often chopped or shredded before application. As they decompose they adhere to each other but also allow water and moisture to seep down to the soil surface. Thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth lawn grass and other plants. Dry leaves are used as winter mulches to protect plants from freezing and thawing in areas with cold winters; they are normally removed during spring.
Grass clippings
Grass clippings, from mowed lawns are sometimes collected and used elsewhere as mulch. Grass clippings are dense and tend to mat down, so are mixed with tree leaves or rough compost to provide aeration and to facilitate their decomposition without smelly putrefaction. Rotting fresh grass clippings can damage plants; their rotting often produces a damaging buildup of trapped heat. Grass clippings are often dried thoroughly before application, which mediates against rapid decomposition and excessive heat generation. Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil, conversely the routine removal of grass clippings from the lawn results in nitrogen deficiency for the lawn.
Peat moss
Peat moss, or sphagnum peat, is long lasting and packaged, making it convenient and popular as a mulch. When wetted and dried, it can form a dense crust that does not allow water to soak in. When dry it can also burn, producing a smoldering fire. It is sometimes mixed with pine needles to produce a mulch that is friable. It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid loving plants.
However peat bogs are a valuable wildlife habitat, and peat is also one of the largest stores of carbon (in Britain, out of a total estimated 9952 million tonnes of carbon in British vegetation and soils, 6948 million tonnes carbon are estimated to be in Scottish, mostly peatland, soils[16]), so gardeners who wish to protect the environment will choose more sustainable alternatives.[17]

Arborist Wood Chips
Wood chips are a byproduct of the pruning of trees by arborists, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. The decay of freshly produced chips from recently living woody plants, consumes nitrate; this is often off set with a light application of a high-nitrate fertilizer. Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases. They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance. Wood chips come in various colors.
Woodchip mulch
Woodchip mulch is a byproduct of reprocessing used (untreated) timber (usually packaging pallets), to dispose of wood waste by creating woodchip mulch. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. Woodchip mulch is often used under trees, shrubs or large planting areas and can last much longer than arborist mulch. In addition, many consider woodchip mulch to be visually appealing, as it comes in various colors. Woodchips can also be reprocessed into playground woodchip to be used as an impact-attenuating playground surfacing.
Bark chips

Bark chips
Bark chips of various grades are produced from the outer corky bark layer of timber trees. Sizes vary from thin shredded strands to large coarse blocks. The finer types are very attractive but have a large exposed surface area that leads to quicker decay. Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates. Bark chips are also available in various colors.
Straw mulch / field hay / salt hay

Permaculture garden with a fruit tree, herbs, flowers and vegetables mulched with hay
Straw mulch or field hay or salt hay are lightweight and normally sold in compressed bales. They have an unkempt look and are used in vegetable gardens and as a winter covering. They are biodegradable and neutral in pH. They have good moisture retention and weed controlling properties but also are more likely to be contaminated with weed seeds. Salt hay is less likely to have weed seeds than field hay. Straw mulch is also available in various colors.
Pine straw
The needles that drop from pine trees is termed pine straw. It is available in bales. Pine straw has an attractive look and is used in landscape and garden settings. On application pine needles tend to weave together, a characteristic that helps the mulch hold storm water on steeper slopes. This interlocking tendency combined with a resistance to floating gives it further advantages in maintaining cover and preventing soil erosion. The interlocking tendency also helps keep the mulch structure from collapsing and forming a barrier to infiltration.[18] Pine straw is reputed to create ideal conditions for acid-loving plants. Pine straw may help to acidify soils but studies indicate this effect is often too small to be measurable. [19]
Cardboard / newspaper
Cardboard or newspaper can be used as mulches. These are best used as a base layer upon which a heavier mulch such as compost is placed to prevent the lighter cardboard/newspaper layer from blowing away. By incorporating a layer of cardboard/newspaper into a mulch, the quantity of heavier mulch can be reduced, whilst improving the weed suppressant and moisture retaining properties of the mulch.[8] However, additional labour is expended when planting through a mulch containing a cardboard/newspaper layer, as holes must be cut for each plant. Sowing seed through mulches containing a cardboard/newspaper layer is impractical. Application of newspaper mulch in windy weather can be facilitated by briefly pre-soaking the newspaper in water to increase its weight.
Carpet
Synthetic carpet that is composed of artificial fibers may be removed after planting to prevent fibers taking a long time to decompose, whereas carpet made from natural fibers may be kept in place, blocking competition from weeds. Rain is absorbed by carpet and then slowly released into the soil, reducing watering needs.[10]
Colored mulch
Some organic mulches are colored red, brown, black, and other colors. Isopropanolamine, specifically 1-Amino-2-propanol or DOW™ monoisopropanolamine, may be used as a pigment dispersant and color fastener in these mulches.[20][21][22][23] Types of mulch which can be dyed include: wood chips, bark chips (barkdust) and pine straw. Colored mulch is made by dyeing the mulch in a water-based solution of colorant and chemical binder. When colored mulch first entered the market, most formulas were suspected to contain toxic, heavy metals and other contaminates. Today, “current investigations indicate that mulch colorants pose no threat to people, pets or the environment. The dyes currently used by the mulch and soil industry are similar to those used in the cosmetic and other manufacturing industries (i.e., iron oxide),” as stated by the Mulch and Soil Council.[24] Colored mulch can be applied anywhere non-colored mulch is used (such as large bedded areas or around plants) and features many of the same gardening benefits as traditional mulch, such as improving soil productivity and retaining moisture.[25] As mulch decomposes, just as with non-colored mulch, more mulch may need to be added to continue providing benefits to the soil and plants. However, if mulch is faded, spraying dye to previously spread mulch in order to restore color is an option.[26]

Anaerobic (sour) mulch
Mulch normally smells like freshly cut wood, but sometimes develops a toxicity that causes it to smell like vinegar, ammonia, sulfur or silage. This happens when material with ample nitrogen content is not rotated often enough and it forms pockets of increased decomposition. When this occurs, the process may become anaerobic and produce these phytotoxic materials in small quantities. Once exposed to the air, the process quickly reverts to an aerobic process, but these toxic materials may be present for a period of time. If the mulch is placed around plants before the toxicity has had a chance to dissipate, then the plants could very likely be damaged or killed depending on their hardiness. Plants that are predominantly low to the ground or freshly planted are the most susceptible, and the phytotoxicity may prevent germination of some seeds.[27]

If sour mulch is applied and there is plant kill, the best thing to do is to water the mulch heavily. Water dissipates the chemicals faster and refreshes the plants. Removing the offending mulch may have little effect, because by the time plant kill is noticed, most of the toxicity is already dissipated. While testing after plant kill will not likely turn up anything, a simple pH check may reveal high acidity, in the range of 3.8 to 5.6 instead of the normal range of 6.0 to 7.2. Finally, placing a bit of the offending mulch around another plant to check for plant kill will verify if the toxicity has departed. If the new plant is also killed, then sour mulch is probably not the problem.

Groundcovers (living mulches)
Main articles: Groundcovers and Living mulch
Groundcovers are plants which grow close to the ground, under the main crop, to slow the development of weeds and provide other benefits of mulch. They are usually fast-growing plants that continue growing with the main crops. By contrast, cover crops are incorporated into the soil or killed with herbicides. However, live mulches also may need to be mechanically or chemically killed eventually to prevent competition with the main crop.[28]

Some groundcovers can perform additional roles in the garden such as nitrogen fixation in the case of clovers, dynamic accumulation of nutrients from the subsoil in the case of creeping comfrey (Symphytum ibericum), and even food production in the case of Rubus tricolor.[29]

On-site production
Owing to the great bulk of mulch which is often required on a site, it is often impractical and expensive to source and import sufficient mulch materials. An alternative to importing mulch materials is to grow them on site in a "mulch garden" – an area of the site dedicated entirely to the production of mulch which is then transferred to the growing area.[29] Mulch gardens should be sited as close as possible to the growing area so as to facilitate transfer of mulch materials.[29]

Mulching (composting) over unwanted plants
Main article: Sheet mulching
Sufficient mulch over plants will destroy them, and may be more advantageous than using herbicide, cutting, mowing, pulling, raking, or tilling. The higher the temperature that this "mulch" is composted, the quicker the reduction of undesirable materials. "Undesirable materials" may include living seed, plant "trash", as well as pathogens such as from animal feces, urine (e.g. hantavirus), fleas, lice, ticks, etc.

In some ways this improves the soil by attracting and feeding earthworms, and adding humus. Earthworms "till" the soil, and their feces are among the best fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Urine may be toxic to plants if applied to growing areas undiluted. See Compost ingredients: Human Waste.

Polypropylene and polyethylene mulch
Polypropylene mulch is made up of polypropylene polymers where polyethylene mulch is made up of polyethylene polymers. These mulches are commonly used in many plastics. Polyethylene is used mainly for weed reduction, where polypropylene is used mainly on perennials.[30] This mulch is placed on top of the soil and can be done by machine or hand with pegs to keep the mulch tight against the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of work a farmer may have to do, and the amount of herbicides applied during the growing period. The black and clear mulches capture sunlight and warm the soil increasing the growth rate. White and other reflective colours will also warm the soil, but they do not suppress weeds as well.[31] This mulch may require other sources of obtaining water such as drip irrigation since it can reduce the amount of water that reaches the soil.[31] This mulch needs to be manually removed at the end of the season since when it starts to break down it breaks down into smaller pieces.[32] If the mulch is not removed before it starts to break down eventually it will break down into ketones and aldehydes polluting the soil.[32] This mulch is technically biodegradable but does not break down into the same materials the more natural biodegradable mulch does.

Biodegradable mulch
Quality biodegradable mulches are made out of plant starches and sugars or polyester fibers. These starches can come from plants such as wheat and corn.[33] These mulch films may be a bit more permeable allowing more water into the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of herbicides used and manual labor farmers may have to do throughout the growing season. At the end of the season these mulches will start to break down from heat. Microorganisms in the soil break down the mulch into two components, water and CO2, leaving no toxic residues behind.[33] This source of mulch is even less manual labor since it does not need to be removed at the end of the season and can actually be tilled into the soil.[33] With this mulch it is important to take into consideration that it's much more delicate than other kinds. It should be placed on a day which is not too hot and with less tension than other synthetic mulches.[33] These also can be placed by machine or hand but it is ideal to have a more starchy mulch that will allow it to stick to the soil better.

See also
icon Gardening portal
Forestry mulching
Good Agricultural Practices
Rubber mulch
Plasticulture
Integrated pest management
Living mulch
Mulching machine
References
RHS A–Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
Alfred J. Turgeon; Lambert Blanchard McCarty; Nick Edward Christians (2009). Weed control in turf and ornamentals. Prentice Hall. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-13-159122-6.
Mahesh K. Upadhyaya; Robert E. Blackshaw (2007). Non-chemical Weed Management: Principles, Concepts and Technology. CABI. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-84593-291-6.
Vegetable Gardening: Growing and Harvesting Vegetables. Murdoch Books. 2004. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-1-74045-519-0.
Dennis R. Pittenger (2002). California Master Gardener Handbook. UCANR Publications. pp. 567–. ISBN 978-1-879906-54-9.
Louise; Bush-Brown, James (1996). America's garden book. New York: Macmillan USA. p. 768. ISBN 0-02-860995-6{{inconsistent citations}}
Leon C. Snyder (2000). Gardening in the Upper Midwest. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-8166-3838-3.
Patrick Whitefield, 2004, The Earth Care Manual, Permanent Publications, ISBN 978-1-85623-021-6
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 6-7. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
Galloway, David. "Get Your New Garden Ready for Spring with Old Carpet". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
http://www.eau.ee/~agronomy/vol07Spec1/p7sI53.pdf[permanent dead link]
http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=3111&Type=2
Jeff Gillman (1 February 2008). The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawnbacks, and the Bottom Line. Timber Press. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-1-60469-005-7.
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 192-193. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
David A. Bainbridge (11 June 2007). A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands. Island Press. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-61091-082-8.
Milne, R.; T. A. Brown (1997). "Carbon in the vegetation and soils of Great Britain". Journal of Environmental Management. 49: 413–433. doi:10.1006/jema.1995.0118.
Walker, John (2011). How to Create an Eco Garden: The practical guide to greener, planet-friendly gardening. Wigston, Leicestershire: Aquamarine. p. 33. ISBN 9781903141892.
Taylor, Eric L.; Foster, Darwin. "Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch". Texas A&M. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Tips On Using Pine Straw For Garden Mulch". 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Product Information - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine (MIPA)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Product Safety Assessment - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Mulch_Magic_Red.pdf". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Agriculture" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
"Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Purdue University". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Is There a Spray You Can Use to Renew Your Mulch Color?". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Beware of Sour Mulch". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
Brandsaeter et al. 1998, Tharp and Kells, 2001
Jacke and Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardening, vol. II
Dovorak, P. "BLACK POLYPROPYLENE MULCH TEXTILE IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE" (PDF). Czech University of Life Science Prague, Kamýcká. 52. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Shonbeck, Dr. Mark (12 September 2012). "Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management". Extension. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Corbin, A (2013). "Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2014.
"Biodegradable Mulch Demonstrations". Penn State Extension. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
External links
Look up mulch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertigation

Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, used for soil amendments, water amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.

Fertigation is related to chemigation, the injection of chemicals into an irrigation system. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably however chemigation is generally a more controlled and regulated process due to the nature of the chemicals used. Chemigation often involves insecticides herbicides, and fungicides, some of which pose health threat to humans, animals, and the environment.


Contents
Uses
Fertigation is practiced extensively in commercial agriculture and horticulture. Fertigation is also increasingly being used for landscaping as dispenser units become more reliable and easier to use. Fertigation is used to add additional nutrients or to correct nutrient deficiencies detected in plant tissue analysis. It is usually practiced on the high-value crops such as vegetables, turf, fruit trees, and ornamentals.

Commonly used nutrients
Most plant nutrients can be applied through irrigation systems. Nitrogen is the most commonly used plant nutrient. Naturally occurring nitrogen (N2) is a diatomic molecule which makes up approximately 80% of the earth’s atmosphere. Most plants cannot directly consume diatomic nitrogen, therefore nitrogen must be contained as a component of other chemical substances which plants can consume. Commonly, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea are used as bioavailable sources of nitrogen. Other nutrients needed by plants include phosphorus and potassium. Like nitrogen, plants require these substances to live but they must be contained in other chemical substances such as monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate to serve as bioavailable nutrients. A common source of potassium is muriate of potash which is chemically potassium chloride.[1] A soil fertility analysis is used to determine which of the more stable nutrients should be used.

Advantages
The benefits of fertigation methods over conventional or drop-fertilizing methods include:

Increased nutrient absorption by plants.
Accurate placement of nutrient, where the water goes the nutrient goes as well.
Ability to "microdose", feeding the plants just enough so nutrients can be absorbed and are not left to be washed down to storm water next time it rains.
Reduction of fertilizer, chemicals, and water needed.
Reduced leaching of chemicals into the water supply.
Reduced water consumption due to the plant's increased root mass's ability to trap and hold water.
Application of nutrients can be controlled at the precise time and rate necessary.
Minimized risk of the roots contracting soil borne diseases through the contaminated soil.
Reduction of soil erosion issues as the nutrients are pumped through the water drip system. Leaching is decreased often through methods used to employ fertigation.
Disadvantages
Concentration of the solution may decrease as the fertilizer dissolves, this depends on equipment selection. If poorly selected may lead to poor nutrient placement.
The water supply for fertigation is to be kept separate from the domestic water supply to avoid contamination.
Possible pressure loss in the main irrigation line.
The process is dependent on the water supply's non-restriction by drought rationing.
Methods used
Drip irrigation – Less wasteful than sprinklers. It is not only more efficient for fertilizer usage, but can also be for maximizing nutrient uptake in plants like cotton.[2] Drip irrigation using fertigation can also increase yield and quality of fruit and flowers, especially in subsurface drip systems rather than above surface drip tape.[3]
Sprinkler systems-Increases leaf and fruit quality.
Continuous application-Fertilizer is supplied at a constant rate.
Three-stage application-Irrigation starts without fertilizers. Fertilizers are applied later in the process.
Proportional application-Injection rate is proportional to water discharge rate.
Quantitative application-Nutrient solution is applied in a calculated amount to each irrigation block.
Other methods of application include the lateral move, the traveler gun, and solid set systems.
System design
Fertigation assists distribution of fertilizers for farmers. The simplest type of fertigation system consists of a tank with a pump, distribution pipes, capillaries, and a dripper pen.

All systems should be placed on a raised or sealed platform, not in direct contact with the earth. Each system should also be fitted with chemical spill trays.

Because of the potential risk of contamination in the potable (drinking) water supply, a backflow prevention device is required for most fertigation systems. Backflow requirements may vary greatly. Therefore, it is very important to understand the proper level of backflow prevention required by law. In the United States, the minimum backflow protection is usually determined by state regulation. Each city or town may set the level of protection required.

See also
Sustainable agriculture
Soil defertilisation
Water conservation
Drip irrigation
Foliar feeding
References
"Potassium Fertilizers". Penn State Extension (Penn State Extension).
Hou, Z., Li, P., Li, B. et al. Plant Soil (2007) 290: 115. doi:10.1007/s11104-006-9140-1
Elhindi, Khalid, El-Hendawy, Salah, Abdel-Salam, Eslam, Elgorban, Abdallah, & Ahmed, Mukhtar. (2016). Impacts of fertigation via surface and subsurface drip irrigation on growth rate, yield and flower quality of Zinnia elegans. Bragantia, 75(1), 96-107. Epub December 22, 2015.https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4499.176
Bibliography
Asadi, M.E., 1998. "Water and nitrogen management to reduce impact of nitrates". Proceedings of the 5th International Agricultural Engineering conference, December 7–10, Bangkok, Thailand, PP.602–616.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S.2000. "Impact of nitrogen fertilizer use on the environment". Proceedings of the 6th International Agricultural Engineering Conference, December 4–7, Bangkok, Thailand. PP.413–423.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S., Gupta, A.D., Loof, R., and Hansen, G.K. 2002. "Impacts of fertigation Via sprinkler irrigation on nitrate leaching and corn yield on an acid - sulphate soil in Thailand. Agricultural Water Management" 52(3): 197-213.
Asadi, M.E., 2004. "Optimum utilization of water and nitrogen fertilizers in sustainable agriculture". Programme and Abstracts N2004. The Third International Nitrogen Conference. October 12–16, Nanjing, China. p. 68.
Asadi, M.E., 2005. "Fertigation as an engineering system to enhance nitrogen fertilizer efficiency". Proceedings of the Second International Congress: Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and Environment, (ITAFE), October 12–14, Adana, Turkey, pp. 525–532.
Department of Natural Resources, Environment, "Fertigation systems." Web. 4 May 2009.
Hanson, Blaine R., Hopmans, Jan, Simunek, Jirka. "Effect of Fertigation Strategy on Nitrogen Availability and Nitrate Leaching using Microirrigation". HortScience 2005 40: 1096
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, www.ncagr.com/fooddrug/pesticid/chemigation2003.pdf "Chemigation & Fertigation". (2003) 4 May 2009.
Neilsen, Gerry, Kappel, Frank, Neilsen, Denise. "Fertigation Method Affects Performance of `Lapins' Sweet Cherry on Gisela 5 Rootstock". HortScience 2004 39: 1716–1721
NSW department of primary industries, "Horticultural fertigation". 2000.
Suhaimi, M. Yaseer; Mohammad, A.M.; Mahamud, S.; Khadzir, D. (July 18, 2012). "Effects of substrates on growth and yield of ginger cultivated using soilless culture", Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Science, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute 40(2) pp. 159 - 168. (Selangor)
vte
Plant nutrition / Fertilizer
Categories: Agricultural terminology Fertilizers Irrigation Lawncare Plant nutrition



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulch

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.

A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips). It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms. The process is used both in commercial crop production and in gardening, and when applied correctly, can dramatically improve soil productivity.[1]


Contents
Uses
Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics.[2] They are applied to the soil surface,[3] around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops. Mulch layers are normally 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more deep when applied.[4][5]

They are applied at various times of the year depending on the purpose. Towards the beginning of the growing season, mulches serve initially to warm the soil by helping it retain heat which is lost during the night. This allows early seeding and transplanting of certain crops, and encourages faster growth. As the season progresses, mulch stabilizes the soil temperature and moisture, and prevents the growing of weeds from seeds.[6] In temperate climates, the effect of mulch is dependent upon the time of year they are applied and when applied in fall and winter, are used to delay the growth of perennial plants in the spring or prevent growth in winter during warm spells, which limits freeze thaw damage.[7]

The effect of mulch upon soil moisture content is complex. Mulch forms a layer between the soil and the atmosphere preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface, thus reducing evaporation. However, mulch can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains.

In order to maximise the benefits of mulch, while minimizing its negative influences, it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.[8] However, permanent mulch is also widely used and valued for its simplicity, as popularized by author Ruth Stout, who said, "My way is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both sides of my vegetable and flower garden all year long. As it decays and enriches the soils, I add more."[9]

Plastic mulch used in large-scale commercial production is laid down with a tractor-drawn or standalone layer of plastic mulch. This is usually part of a sophisticated mechanical process, where raised beds are formed, plastic is rolled out on top, and seedlings are transplanted through it. Drip irrigation is often required, with drip tape laid under the plastic, as plastic mulch is impermeable to water.

Materials

Rubber mulch nuggets in a playground. The white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires from which the mulch is made.

Shredded wood used as mulch. This type of mulch is often dyed to improve its appearance in the landscape.

Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "pinestraw" in the southern US.

Aged Compost mulch on a flower bed

Crushed stone mulch

Spring daffodils push through shredded wood mulch
Materials used as mulches vary and depend on a number of factors. Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil—including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition, how clean it is—some can contain weed seeds or plant pathogens.[6]

A variety of materials are used as mulch:

Organic residues: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, animal manure, etc. Many of these materials also act as a direct composting system, such as the mulched clippings of a mulching lawn mower, or other organics applied as sheet composting.
Compost: fully composted materials are used to avoid possible phytotoxicity problems. Materials that are free of seeds are ideally used, to prevent weeds being introduced by the mulch.
Old carpet (synthetic or natural): makes a free, readily available mulch.[10]
Rubber mulch: made from recycled tire rubber.
Plastic mulch: crops grow through slits or holes in thin plastic sheeting. This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year (disposal of plastic mulch is cited as an environmental problem).
Rock and gravel can also be used as a mulch. In cooler climates the heat retained by rocks may extend the growing season.
In some areas of the United States, such as central Pennsylvania and northern California, mulch is often referred to as "tanbark", even by manufacturers and distributors. In these areas, the word "mulch" is used specifically to refer to very fine tanbark or peat moss.

Organic mulches

mulching_coconut farm
Organic mulches decay over time and are temporary. The way a particular organic mulch decomposes and reacts to wetting by rain and dew affects its usefulness.

Some mulches such as straw, peat, sawdust and other wood products may for a while negatively affect plant growth because of their wide carbon to nitrogen ratio,[11] because bacteria and fungi that decompose the materials remove nitrogen from the surrounding soil for growth.[12][13] However, whether this effect has any practical impact on gardens is disputed by researchers and the experience of gardeners.[14] Organic mulches can mat down, forming a barrier that blocks water and air flow between the soil and the atmosphere. Vertically applied organic mulches can wick water from the soil to the surface, which can dry out the soil.[15] Mulch made with wood can contain or feed termites, so care must be taken about not placing mulch too close to houses or building that can be damaged by those insects. Some mulch manufacturers recommend putting mulch several inches away from buildings.

Commonly available organic mulches include:[6]

Leaves
Leaves from deciduous trees, which drop their foliage in the autumn/fall. They tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so are often chopped or shredded before application. As they decompose they adhere to each other but also allow water and moisture to seep down to the soil surface. Thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth lawn grass and other plants. Dry leaves are used as winter mulches to protect plants from freezing and thawing in areas with cold winters; they are normally removed during spring.
Grass clippings
Grass clippings, from mowed lawns are sometimes collected and used elsewhere as mulch. Grass clippings are dense and tend to mat down, so are mixed with tree leaves or rough compost to provide aeration and to facilitate their decomposition without smelly putrefaction. Rotting fresh grass clippings can damage plants; their rotting often produces a damaging buildup of trapped heat. Grass clippings are often dried thoroughly before application, which mediates against rapid decomposition and excessive heat generation. Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil, conversely the routine removal of grass clippings from the lawn results in nitrogen deficiency for the lawn.
Peat moss
Peat moss, or sphagnum peat, is long lasting and packaged, making it convenient and popular as a mulch. When wetted and dried, it can form a dense crust that does not allow water to soak in. When dry it can also burn, producing a smoldering fire. It is sometimes mixed with pine needles to produce a mulch that is friable. It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid loving plants.
However peat bogs are a valuable wildlife habitat, and peat is also one of the largest stores of carbon (in Britain, out of a total estimated 9952 million tonnes of carbon in British vegetation and soils, 6948 million tonnes carbon are estimated to be in Scottish, mostly peatland, soils[16]), so gardeners who wish to protect the environment will choose more sustainable alternatives.[17]

Arborist Wood Chips
Wood chips are a byproduct of the pruning of trees by arborists, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. The decay of freshly produced chips from recently living woody plants, consumes nitrate; this is often off set with a light application of a high-nitrate fertilizer. Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases. They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance. Wood chips come in various colors.
Woodchip mulch
Woodchip mulch is a byproduct of reprocessing used (untreated) timber (usually packaging pallets), to dispose of wood waste by creating woodchip mulch. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. Woodchip mulch is often used under trees, shrubs or large planting areas and can last much longer than arborist mulch. In addition, many consider woodchip mulch to be visually appealing, as it comes in various colors. Woodchips can also be reprocessed into playground woodchip to be used as an impact-attenuating playground surfacing.
Bark chips

Bark chips
Bark chips of various grades are produced from the outer corky bark layer of timber trees. Sizes vary from thin shredded strands to large coarse blocks. The finer types are very attractive but have a large exposed surface area that leads to quicker decay. Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates. Bark chips are also available in various colors.
Straw mulch / field hay / salt hay

Permaculture garden with a fruit tree, herbs, flowers and vegetables mulched with hay
Straw mulch or field hay or salt hay are lightweight and normally sold in compressed bales. They have an unkempt look and are used in vegetable gardens and as a winter covering. They are biodegradable and neutral in pH. They have good moisture retention and weed controlling properties but also are more likely to be contaminated with weed seeds. Salt hay is less likely to have weed seeds than field hay. Straw mulch is also available in various colors.
Pine straw
The needles that drop from pine trees is termed pine straw. It is available in bales. Pine straw has an attractive look and is used in landscape and garden settings. On application pine needles tend to weave together, a characteristic that helps the mulch hold storm water on steeper slopes. This interlocking tendency combined with a resistance to floating gives it further advantages in maintaining cover and preventing soil erosion. The interlocking tendency also helps keep the mulch structure from collapsing and forming a barrier to infiltration.[18] Pine straw is reputed to create ideal conditions for acid-loving plants. Pine straw may help to acidify soils but studies indicate this effect is often too small to be measurable. [19]
Cardboard / newspaper
Cardboard or newspaper can be used as mulches. These are best used as a base layer upon which a heavier mulch such as compost is placed to prevent the lighter cardboard/newspaper layer from blowing away. By incorporating a layer of cardboard/newspaper into a mulch, the quantity of heavier mulch can be reduced, whilst improving the weed suppressant and moisture retaining properties of the mulch.[8] However, additional labour is expended when planting through a mulch containing a cardboard/newspaper layer, as holes must be cut for each plant. Sowing seed through mulches containing a cardboard/newspaper layer is impractical. Application of newspaper mulch in windy weather can be facilitated by briefly pre-soaking the newspaper in water to increase its weight.
Carpet
Synthetic carpet that is composed of artificial fibers may be removed after planting to prevent fibers taking a long time to decompose, whereas carpet made from natural fibers may be kept in place, blocking competition from weeds. Rain is absorbed by carpet and then slowly released into the soil, reducing watering needs.[10]
Colored mulch
Some organic mulches are colored red, brown, black, and other colors. Isopropanolamine, specifically 1-Amino-2-propanol or DOW™ monoisopropanolamine, may be used as a pigment dispersant and color fastener in these mulches.[20][21][22][23] Types of mulch which can be dyed include: wood chips, bark chips (barkdust) and pine straw. Colored mulch is made by dyeing the mulch in a water-based solution of colorant and chemical binder. When colored mulch first entered the market, most formulas were suspected to contain toxic, heavy metals and other contaminates. Today, “current investigations indicate that mulch colorants pose no threat to people, pets or the environment. The dyes currently used by the mulch and soil industry are similar to those used in the cosmetic and other manufacturing industries (i.e., iron oxide),” as stated by the Mulch and Soil Council.[24] Colored mulch can be applied anywhere non-colored mulch is used (such as large bedded areas or around plants) and features many of the same gardening benefits as traditional mulch, such as improving soil productivity and retaining moisture.[25] As mulch decomposes, just as with non-colored mulch, more mulch may need to be added to continue providing benefits to the soil and plants. However, if mulch is faded, spraying dye to previously spread mulch in order to restore color is an option.[26]

Anaerobic (sour) mulch
Mulch normally smells like freshly cut wood, but sometimes develops a toxicity that causes it to smell like vinegar, ammonia, sulfur or silage. This happens when material with ample nitrogen content is not rotated often enough and it forms pockets of increased decomposition. When this occurs, the process may become anaerobic and produce these phytotoxic materials in small quantities. Once exposed to the air, the process quickly reverts to an aerobic process, but these toxic materials may be present for a period of time. If the mulch is placed around plants before the toxicity has had a chance to dissipate, then the plants could very likely be damaged or killed depending on their hardiness. Plants that are predominantly low to the ground or freshly planted are the most susceptible, and the phytotoxicity may prevent germination of some seeds.[27]

If sour mulch is applied and there is plant kill, the best thing to do is to water the mulch heavily. Water dissipates the chemicals faster and refreshes the plants. Removing the offending mulch may have little effect, because by the time plant kill is noticed, most of the toxicity is already dissipated. While testing after plant kill will not likely turn up anything, a simple pH check may reveal high acidity, in the range of 3.8 to 5.6 instead of the normal range of 6.0 to 7.2. Finally, placing a bit of the offending mulch around another plant to check for plant kill will verify if the toxicity has departed. If the new plant is also killed, then sour mulch is probably not the problem.

Groundcovers (living mulches)
Main articles: Groundcovers and Living mulch
Groundcovers are plants which grow close to the ground, under the main crop, to slow the development of weeds and provide other benefits of mulch. They are usually fast-growing plants that continue growing with the main crops. By contrast, cover crops are incorporated into the soil or killed with herbicides. However, live mulches also may need to be mechanically or chemically killed eventually to prevent competition with the main crop.[28]

Some groundcovers can perform additional roles in the garden such as nitrogen fixation in the case of clovers, dynamic accumulation of nutrients from the subsoil in the case of creeping comfrey (Symphytum ibericum), and even food production in the case of Rubus tricolor.[29]

On-site production
Owing to the great bulk of mulch which is often required on a site, it is often impractical and expensive to source and import sufficient mulch materials. An alternative to importing mulch materials is to grow them on site in a "mulch garden" – an area of the site dedicated entirely to the production of mulch which is then transferred to the growing area.[29] Mulch gardens should be sited as close as possible to the growing area so as to facilitate transfer of mulch materials.[29]

Mulching (composting) over unwanted plants
Main article: Sheet mulching
Sufficient mulch over plants will destroy them, and may be more advantageous than using herbicide, cutting, mowing, pulling, raking, or tilling. The higher the temperature that this "mulch" is composted, the quicker the reduction of undesirable materials. "Undesirable materials" may include living seed, plant "trash", as well as pathogens such as from animal feces, urine (e.g. hantavirus), fleas, lice, ticks, etc.

In some ways this improves the soil by attracting and feeding earthworms, and adding humus. Earthworms "till" the soil, and their feces are among the best fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Urine may be toxic to plants if applied to growing areas undiluted. See Compost ingredients: Human Waste.

Polypropylene and polyethylene mulch
Polypropylene mulch is made up of polypropylene polymers where polyethylene mulch is made up of polyethylene polymers. These mulches are commonly used in many plastics. Polyethylene is used mainly for weed reduction, where polypropylene is used mainly on perennials.[30] This mulch is placed on top of the soil and can be done by machine or hand with pegs to keep the mulch tight against the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of work a farmer may have to do, and the amount of herbicides applied during the growing period. The black and clear mulches capture sunlight and warm the soil increasing the growth rate. White and other reflective colours will also warm the soil, but they do not suppress weeds as well.[31] This mulch may require other sources of obtaining water such as drip irrigation since it can reduce the amount of water that reaches the soil.[31] This mulch needs to be manually removed at the end of the season since when it starts to break down it breaks down into smaller pieces.[32] If the mulch is not removed before it starts to break down eventually it will break down into ketones and aldehydes polluting the soil.[32] This mulch is technically biodegradable but does not break down into the same materials the more natural biodegradable mulch does.

Biodegradable mulch
Quality biodegradable mulches are made out of plant starches and sugars or polyester fibers. These starches can come from plants such as wheat and corn.[33] These mulch films may be a bit more permeable allowing more water into the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of herbicides used and manual labor farmers may have to do throughout the growing season. At the end of the season these mulches will start to break down from heat. Microorganisms in the soil break down the mulch into two components, water and CO2, leaving no toxic residues behind.[33] This source of mulch is even less manual labor since it does not need to be removed at the end of the season and can actually be tilled into the soil.[33] With this mulch it is important to take into consideration that it's much more delicate than other kinds. It should be placed on a day which is not too hot and with less tension than other synthetic mulches.[33] These also can be placed by machine or hand but it is ideal to have a more starchy mulch that will allow it to stick to the soil better.

See also
icon Gardening portal
Forestry mulching
Good Agricultural Practices
Rubber mulch
Plasticulture
Integrated pest management
Living mulch
Mulching machine
References
RHS A–Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
Alfred J. Turgeon; Lambert Blanchard McCarty; Nick Edward Christians (2009). Weed control in turf and ornamentals. Prentice Hall. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-13-159122-6.
Mahesh K. Upadhyaya; Robert E. Blackshaw (2007). Non-chemical Weed Management: Principles, Concepts and Technology. CABI. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-84593-291-6.
Vegetable Gardening: Growing and Harvesting Vegetables. Murdoch Books. 2004. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-1-74045-519-0.
Dennis R. Pittenger (2002). California Master Gardener Handbook. UCANR Publications. pp. 567–. ISBN 978-1-879906-54-9.
Louise; Bush-Brown, James (1996). America's garden book. New York: Macmillan USA. p. 768. ISBN 0-02-860995-6{{inconsistent citations}}
Leon C. Snyder (2000). Gardening in the Upper Midwest. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-8166-3838-3.
Patrick Whitefield, 2004, The Earth Care Manual, Permanent Publications, ISBN 978-1-85623-021-6
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 6-7. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
Galloway, David. "Get Your New Garden Ready for Spring with Old Carpet". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
http://www.eau.ee/~agronomy/vol07Spec1/p7sI53.pdf[permanent dead link]
http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=3111&Type=2
Jeff Gillman (1 February 2008). The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawnbacks, and the Bottom Line. Timber Press. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-1-60469-005-7.
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 192-193. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
David A. Bainbridge (11 June 2007). A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands. Island Press. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-61091-082-8.
Milne, R.; T. A. Brown (1997). "Carbon in the vegetation and soils of Great Britain". Journal of Environmental Management. 49: 413–433. doi:10.1006/jema.1995.0118.
Walker, John (2011). How to Create an Eco Garden: The practical guide to greener, planet-friendly gardening. Wigston, Leicestershire: Aquamarine. p. 33. ISBN 9781903141892.
Taylor, Eric L.; Foster, Darwin. "Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch". Texas A&M. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Tips On Using Pine Straw For Garden Mulch". 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Product Information - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine (MIPA)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Product Safety Assessment - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Mulch_Magic_Red.pdf". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Agriculture" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
"Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Purdue University". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Is There a Spray You Can Use to Renew Your Mulch Color?". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Beware of Sour Mulch". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
Brandsaeter et al. 1998, Tharp and Kells, 2001
Jacke and Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardening, vol. II
Dovorak, P. "BLACK POLYPROPYLENE MULCH TEXTILE IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE" (PDF). Czech University of Life Science Prague, Kamýcká. 52. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Shonbeck, Dr. Mark (12 September 2012). "Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management". Extension. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Corbin, A (2013). "Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2014.
"Biodegradable Mulch Demonstrations". Penn State Extension. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
External links
Look up mulch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mulch.
Mulching Trees & Shrubs
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertigation

Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, used for soil amendments, water amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.

Fertigation is related to chemigation, the injection of chemicals into an irrigation system. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably however chemigation is generally a more controlled and regulated process due to the nature of the chemicals used. Chemigation often involves insecticides herbicides, and fungicides, some of which pose health threat to humans, animals, and the environment.


Contents
Uses
Fertigation is practiced extensively in commercial agriculture and horticulture. Fertigation is also increasingly being used for landscaping as dispenser units become more reliable and easier to use. Fertigation is used to add additional nutrients or to correct nutrient deficiencies detected in plant tissue analysis. It is usually practiced on the high-value crops such as vegetables, turf, fruit trees, and ornamentals.

Commonly used nutrients
Most plant nutrients can be applied through irrigation systems. Nitrogen is the most commonly used plant nutrient. Naturally occurring nitrogen (N2) is a diatomic molecule which makes up approximately 80% of the earth’s atmosphere. Most plants cannot directly consume diatomic nitrogen, therefore nitrogen must be contained as a component of other chemical substances which plants can consume. Commonly, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, and urea are used as bioavailable sources of nitrogen. Other nutrients needed by plants include phosphorus and potassium. Like nitrogen, plants require these substances to live but they must be contained in other chemical substances such as monoammonium phosphate or diammonium phosphate to serve as bioavailable nutrients. A common source of potassium is muriate of potash which is chemically potassium chloride.[1] A soil fertility analysis is used to determine which of the more stable nutrients should be used.

Advantages
The benefits of fertigation methods over conventional or drop-fertilizing methods include:

Increased nutrient absorption by plants.
Accurate placement of nutrient, where the water goes the nutrient goes as well.
Ability to "microdose", feeding the plants just enough so nutrients can be absorbed and are not left to be washed down to storm water next time it rains.
Reduction of fertilizer, chemicals, and water needed.
Reduced leaching of chemicals into the water supply.
Reduced water consumption due to the plant's increased root mass's ability to trap and hold water.
Application of nutrients can be controlled at the precise time and rate necessary.
Minimized risk of the roots contracting soil borne diseases through the contaminated soil.
Reduction of soil erosion issues as the nutrients are pumped through the water drip system. Leaching is decreased often through methods used to employ fertigation.
Disadvantages
Concentration of the solution may decrease as the fertilizer dissolves, this depends on equipment selection. If poorly selected may lead to poor nutrient placement.
The water supply for fertigation is to be kept separate from the domestic water supply to avoid contamination.
Possible pressure loss in the main irrigation line.
The process is dependent on the water supply's non-restriction by drought rationing.
Methods used
Drip irrigation – Less wasteful than sprinklers. It is not only more efficient for fertilizer usage, but can also be for maximizing nutrient uptake in plants like cotton.[2] Drip irrigation using fertigation can also increase yield and quality of fruit and flowers, especially in subsurface drip systems rather than above surface drip tape.[3]
Sprinkler systems-Increases leaf and fruit quality.
Continuous application-Fertilizer is supplied at a constant rate.
Three-stage application-Irrigation starts without fertilizers. Fertilizers are applied later in the process.
Proportional application-Injection rate is proportional to water discharge rate.
Quantitative application-Nutrient solution is applied in a calculated amount to each irrigation block.
Other methods of application include the lateral move, the traveler gun, and solid set systems.
System design
Fertigation assists distribution of fertilizers for farmers. The simplest type of fertigation system consists of a tank with a pump, distribution pipes, capillaries, and a dripper pen.

All systems should be placed on a raised or sealed platform, not in direct contact with the earth. Each system should also be fitted with chemical spill trays.

Because of the potential risk of contamination in the potable (drinking) water supply, a backflow prevention device is required for most fertigation systems. Backflow requirements may vary greatly. Therefore, it is very important to understand the proper level of backflow prevention required by law. In the United States, the minimum backflow protection is usually determined by state regulation. Each city or town may set the level of protection required.

See also
Sustainable agriculture
Soil defertilisation
Water conservation
Drip irrigation
Foliar feeding
References
"Potassium Fertilizers". Penn State Extension (Penn State Extension).
Hou, Z., Li, P., Li, B. et al. Plant Soil (2007) 290: 115. doi:10.1007/s11104-006-9140-1
Elhindi, Khalid, El-Hendawy, Salah, Abdel-Salam, Eslam, Elgorban, Abdallah, & Ahmed, Mukhtar. (2016). Impacts of fertigation via surface and subsurface drip irrigation on growth rate, yield and flower quality of Zinnia elegans. Bragantia, 75(1), 96-107. Epub December 22, 2015.https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4499.176
Bibliography
Asadi, M.E., 1998. "Water and nitrogen management to reduce impact of nitrates". Proceedings of the 5th International Agricultural Engineering conference, December 7–10, Bangkok, Thailand, PP.602–616.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S.2000. "Impact of nitrogen fertilizer use on the environment". Proceedings of the 6th International Agricultural Engineering Conference, December 4–7, Bangkok, Thailand. PP.413–423.
Asadi, M.E., Clemente, R.S., Gupta, A.D., Loof, R., and Hansen, G.K. 2002. "Impacts of fertigation Via sprinkler irrigation on nitrate leaching and corn yield on an acid - sulphate soil in Thailand. Agricultural Water Management" 52(3): 197-213.
Asadi, M.E., 2004. "Optimum utilization of water and nitrogen fertilizers in sustainable agriculture". Programme and Abstracts N2004. The Third International Nitrogen Conference. October 12–16, Nanjing, China. p. 68.
Asadi, M.E., 2005. "Fertigation as an engineering system to enhance nitrogen fertilizer efficiency". Proceedings of the Second International Congress: Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and Environment, (ITAFE), October 12–14, Adana, Turkey, pp. 525–532.
Department of Natural Resources, Environment, "Fertigation systems." Web. 4 May 2009.
Hanson, Blaine R., Hopmans, Jan, Simunek, Jirka. "Effect of Fertigation Strategy on Nitrogen Availability and Nitrate Leaching using Microirrigation". HortScience 2005 40: 1096
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, www.ncagr.com/fooddrug/pesticid/chemigation2003.pdf "Chemigation & Fertigation". (2003) 4 May 2009.
Neilsen, Gerry, Kappel, Frank, Neilsen, Denise. "Fertigation Method Affects Performance of `Lapins' Sweet Cherry on Gisela 5 Rootstock". HortScience 2004 39: 1716–1721
NSW department of primary industries, "Horticultural fertigation". 2000.
Suhaimi, M. Yaseer; Mohammad, A.M.; Mahamud, S.; Khadzir, D. (July 18, 2012). "Effects of substrates on growth and yield of ginger cultivated using soilless culture", Journal of Tropical Agriculture and Food Science, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute 40(2) pp. 159 - 168. (Selangor)
vte
Plant nutrition / Fertilizer
Categories: Agricultural terminology Fertilizers Irrigation Lawncare Plant nutrition



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulch

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.

A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips). It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants. Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms. The process is used both in commercial crop production and in gardening, and when applied correctly, can dramatically improve soil productivity.[1]


Contents
Uses
Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics.[2] They are applied to the soil surface,[3] around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops. Mulch layers are normally 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more deep when applied.[4][5]

They are applied at various times of the year depending on the purpose. Towards the beginning of the growing season, mulches serve initially to warm the soil by helping it retain heat which is lost during the night. This allows early seeding and transplanting of certain crops, and encourages faster growth. As the season progresses, mulch stabilizes the soil temperature and moisture, and prevents the growing of weeds from seeds.[6] In temperate climates, the effect of mulch is dependent upon the time of year they are applied and when applied in fall and winter, are used to delay the growth of perennial plants in the spring or prevent growth in winter during warm spells, which limits freeze thaw damage.[7]

The effect of mulch upon soil moisture content is complex. Mulch forms a layer between the soil and the atmosphere preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface, thus reducing evaporation. However, mulch can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains.

In order to maximise the benefits of mulch, while minimizing its negative influences, it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.[8] However, permanent mulch is also widely used and valued for its simplicity, as popularized by author Ruth Stout, who said, "My way is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both sides of my vegetable and flower garden all year long. As it decays and enriches the soils, I add more."[9]

Plastic mulch used in large-scale commercial production is laid down with a tractor-drawn or standalone layer of plastic mulch. This is usually part of a sophisticated mechanical process, where raised beds are formed, plastic is rolled out on top, and seedlings are transplanted through it. Drip irrigation is often required, with drip tape laid under the plastic, as plastic mulch is impermeable to water.

Materials

Rubber mulch nuggets in a playground. The white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires from which the mulch is made.

Shredded wood used as mulch. This type of mulch is often dyed to improve its appearance in the landscape.

Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "pinestraw" in the southern US.

Aged Compost mulch on a flower bed

Crushed stone mulch

Spring daffodils push through shredded wood mulch
Materials used as mulches vary and depend on a number of factors. Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil—including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition, how clean it is—some can contain weed seeds or plant pathogens.[6]

A variety of materials are used as mulch:

Organic residues: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, animal manure, etc. Many of these materials also act as a direct composting system, such as the mulched clippings of a mulching lawn mower, or other organics applied as sheet composting.
Compost: fully composted materials are used to avoid possible phytotoxicity problems. Materials that are free of seeds are ideally used, to prevent weeds being introduced by the mulch.
Old carpet (synthetic or natural): makes a free, readily available mulch.[10]
Rubber mulch: made from recycled tire rubber.
Plastic mulch: crops grow through slits or holes in thin plastic sheeting. This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year (disposal of plastic mulch is cited as an environmental problem).
Rock and gravel can also be used as a mulch. In cooler climates the heat retained by rocks may extend the growing season.
In some areas of the United States, such as central Pennsylvania and northern California, mulch is often referred to as "tanbark", even by manufacturers and distributors. In these areas, the word "mulch" is used specifically to refer to very fine tanbark or peat moss.

Organic mulches

mulching_coconut farm
Organic mulches decay over time and are temporary. The way a particular organic mulch decomposes and reacts to wetting by rain and dew affects its usefulness.

Some mulches such as straw, peat, sawdust and other wood products may for a while negatively affect plant growth because of their wide carbon to nitrogen ratio,[11] because bacteria and fungi that decompose the materials remove nitrogen from the surrounding soil for growth.[12][13] However, whether this effect has any practical impact on gardens is disputed by researchers and the experience of gardeners.[14] Organic mulches can mat down, forming a barrier that blocks water and air flow between the soil and the atmosphere. Vertically applied organic mulches can wick water from the soil to the surface, which can dry out the soil.[15] Mulch made with wood can contain or feed termites, so care must be taken about not placing mulch too close to houses or building that can be damaged by those insects. Some mulch manufacturers recommend putting mulch several inches away from buildings.

Commonly available organic mulches include:[6]

Leaves
Leaves from deciduous trees, which drop their foliage in the autumn/fall. They tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so are often chopped or shredded before application. As they decompose they adhere to each other but also allow water and moisture to seep down to the soil surface. Thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth lawn grass and other plants. Dry leaves are used as winter mulches to protect plants from freezing and thawing in areas with cold winters; they are normally removed during spring.
Grass clippings
Grass clippings, from mowed lawns are sometimes collected and used elsewhere as mulch. Grass clippings are dense and tend to mat down, so are mixed with tree leaves or rough compost to provide aeration and to facilitate their decomposition without smelly putrefaction. Rotting fresh grass clippings can damage plants; their rotting often produces a damaging buildup of trapped heat. Grass clippings are often dried thoroughly before application, which mediates against rapid decomposition and excessive heat generation. Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil, conversely the routine removal of grass clippings from the lawn results in nitrogen deficiency for the lawn.
Peat moss
Peat moss, or sphagnum peat, is long lasting and packaged, making it convenient and popular as a mulch. When wetted and dried, it can form a dense crust that does not allow water to soak in. When dry it can also burn, producing a smoldering fire. It is sometimes mixed with pine needles to produce a mulch that is friable. It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid loving plants.
However peat bogs are a valuable wildlife habitat, and peat is also one of the largest stores of carbon (in Britain, out of a total estimated 9952 million tonnes of carbon in British vegetation and soils, 6948 million tonnes carbon are estimated to be in Scottish, mostly peatland, soils[16]), so gardeners who wish to protect the environment will choose more sustainable alternatives.[17]

Arborist Wood Chips
Wood chips are a byproduct of the pruning of trees by arborists, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. The decay of freshly produced chips from recently living woody plants, consumes nitrate; this is often off set with a light application of a high-nitrate fertilizer. Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases. They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance. Wood chips come in various colors.
Woodchip mulch
Woodchip mulch is a byproduct of reprocessing used (untreated) timber (usually packaging pallets), to dispose of wood waste by creating woodchip mulch. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. Woodchip mulch is often used under trees, shrubs or large planting areas and can last much longer than arborist mulch. In addition, many consider woodchip mulch to be visually appealing, as it comes in various colors. Woodchips can also be reprocessed into playground woodchip to be used as an impact-attenuating playground surfacing.
Bark chips

Bark chips
Bark chips of various grades are produced from the outer corky bark layer of timber trees. Sizes vary from thin shredded strands to large coarse blocks. The finer types are very attractive but have a large exposed surface area that leads to quicker decay. Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates. Bark chips are also available in various colors.
Straw mulch / field hay / salt hay

Permaculture garden with a fruit tree, herbs, flowers and vegetables mulched with hay
Straw mulch or field hay or salt hay are lightweight and normally sold in compressed bales. They have an unkempt look and are used in vegetable gardens and as a winter covering. They are biodegradable and neutral in pH. They have good moisture retention and weed controlling properties but also are more likely to be contaminated with weed seeds. Salt hay is less likely to have weed seeds than field hay. Straw mulch is also available in various colors.
Pine straw
The needles that drop from pine trees is termed pine straw. It is available in bales. Pine straw has an attractive look and is used in landscape and garden settings. On application pine needles tend to weave together, a characteristic that helps the mulch hold storm water on steeper slopes. This interlocking tendency combined with a resistance to floating gives it further advantages in maintaining cover and preventing soil erosion. The interlocking tendency also helps keep the mulch structure from collapsing and forming a barrier to infiltration.[18] Pine straw is reputed to create ideal conditions for acid-loving plants. Pine straw may help to acidify soils but studies indicate this effect is often too small to be measurable. [19]
Cardboard / newspaper
Cardboard or newspaper can be used as mulches. These are best used as a base layer upon which a heavier mulch such as compost is placed to prevent the lighter cardboard/newspaper layer from blowing away. By incorporating a layer of cardboard/newspaper into a mulch, the quantity of heavier mulch can be reduced, whilst improving the weed suppressant and moisture retaining properties of the mulch.[8] However, additional labour is expended when planting through a mulch containing a cardboard/newspaper layer, as holes must be cut for each plant. Sowing seed through mulches containing a cardboard/newspaper layer is impractical. Application of newspaper mulch in windy weather can be facilitated by briefly pre-soaking the newspaper in water to increase its weight.
Carpet
Synthetic carpet that is composed of artificial fibers may be removed after planting to prevent fibers taking a long time to decompose, whereas carpet made from natural fibers may be kept in place, blocking competition from weeds. Rain is absorbed by carpet and then slowly released into the soil, reducing watering needs.[10]
Colored mulch
Some organic mulches are colored red, brown, black, and other colors. Isopropanolamine, specifically 1-Amino-2-propanol or DOW™ monoisopropanolamine, may be used as a pigment dispersant and color fastener in these mulches.[20][21][22][23] Types of mulch which can be dyed include: wood chips, bark chips (barkdust) and pine straw. Colored mulch is made by dyeing the mulch in a water-based solution of colorant and chemical binder. When colored mulch first entered the market, most formulas were suspected to contain toxic, heavy metals and other contaminates. Today, “current investigations indicate that mulch colorants pose no threat to people, pets or the environment. The dyes currently used by the mulch and soil industry are similar to those used in the cosmetic and other manufacturing industries (i.e., iron oxide),” as stated by the Mulch and Soil Council.[24] Colored mulch can be applied anywhere non-colored mulch is used (such as large bedded areas or around plants) and features many of the same gardening benefits as traditional mulch, such as improving soil productivity and retaining moisture.[25] As mulch decomposes, just as with non-colored mulch, more mulch may need to be added to continue providing benefits to the soil and plants. However, if mulch is faded, spraying dye to previously spread mulch in order to restore color is an option.[26]

Anaerobic (sour) mulch
Mulch normally smells like freshly cut wood, but sometimes develops a toxicity that causes it to smell like vinegar, ammonia, sulfur or silage. This happens when material with ample nitrogen content is not rotated often enough and it forms pockets of increased decomposition. When this occurs, the process may become anaerobic and produce these phytotoxic materials in small quantities. Once exposed to the air, the process quickly reverts to an aerobic process, but these toxic materials may be present for a period of time. If the mulch is placed around plants before the toxicity has had a chance to dissipate, then the plants could very likely be damaged or killed depending on their hardiness. Plants that are predominantly low to the ground or freshly planted are the most susceptible, and the phytotoxicity may prevent germination of some seeds.[27]

If sour mulch is applied and there is plant kill, the best thing to do is to water the mulch heavily. Water dissipates the chemicals faster and refreshes the plants. Removing the offending mulch may have little effect, because by the time plant kill is noticed, most of the toxicity is already dissipated. While testing after plant kill will not likely turn up anything, a simple pH check may reveal high acidity, in the range of 3.8 to 5.6 instead of the normal range of 6.0 to 7.2. Finally, placing a bit of the offending mulch around another plant to check for plant kill will verify if the toxicity has departed. If the new plant is also killed, then sour mulch is probably not the problem.

Groundcovers (living mulches)
Main articles: Groundcovers and Living mulch
Groundcovers are plants which grow close to the ground, under the main crop, to slow the development of weeds and provide other benefits of mulch. They are usually fast-growing plants that continue growing with the main crops. By contrast, cover crops are incorporated into the soil or killed with herbicides. However, live mulches also may need to be mechanically or chemically killed eventually to prevent competition with the main crop.[28]

Some groundcovers can perform additional roles in the garden such as nitrogen fixation in the case of clovers, dynamic accumulation of nutrients from the subsoil in the case of creeping comfrey (Symphytum ibericum), and even food production in the case of Rubus tricolor.[29]

On-site production
Owing to the great bulk of mulch which is often required on a site, it is often impractical and expensive to source and import sufficient mulch materials. An alternative to importing mulch materials is to grow them on site in a "mulch garden" – an area of the site dedicated entirely to the production of mulch which is then transferred to the growing area.[29] Mulch gardens should be sited as close as possible to the growing area so as to facilitate transfer of mulch materials.[29]

Mulching (composting) over unwanted plants
Main article: Sheet mulching
Sufficient mulch over plants will destroy them, and may be more advantageous than using herbicide, cutting, mowing, pulling, raking, or tilling. The higher the temperature that this "mulch" is composted, the quicker the reduction of undesirable materials. "Undesirable materials" may include living seed, plant "trash", as well as pathogens such as from animal feces, urine (e.g. hantavirus), fleas, lice, ticks, etc.

In some ways this improves the soil by attracting and feeding earthworms, and adding humus. Earthworms "till" the soil, and their feces are among the best fertilizers and soil conditioners.

Urine may be toxic to plants if applied to growing areas undiluted. See Compost ingredients: Human Waste.

Polypropylene and polyethylene mulch
Polypropylene mulch is made up of polypropylene polymers where polyethylene mulch is made up of polyethylene polymers. These mulches are commonly used in many plastics. Polyethylene is used mainly for weed reduction, where polypropylene is used mainly on perennials.[30] This mulch is placed on top of the soil and can be done by machine or hand with pegs to keep the mulch tight against the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of work a farmer may have to do, and the amount of herbicides applied during the growing period. The black and clear mulches capture sunlight and warm the soil increasing the growth rate. White and other reflective colours will also warm the soil, but they do not suppress weeds as well.[31] This mulch may require other sources of obtaining water such as drip irrigation since it can reduce the amount of water that reaches the soil.[31] This mulch needs to be manually removed at the end of the season since when it starts to break down it breaks down into smaller pieces.[32] If the mulch is not removed before it starts to break down eventually it will break down into ketones and aldehydes polluting the soil.[32] This mulch is technically biodegradable but does not break down into the same materials the more natural biodegradable mulch does.

Biodegradable mulch
Quality biodegradable mulches are made out of plant starches and sugars or polyester fibers. These starches can come from plants such as wheat and corn.[33] These mulch films may be a bit more permeable allowing more water into the soil. This mulch can prevent soil erosion, reduce weeding, conserve soil moisture, and increase temperature of the soil.[31] Ultimately this can reduce the amount of herbicides used and manual labor farmers may have to do throughout the growing season. At the end of the season these mulches will start to break down from heat. Microorganisms in the soil break down the mulch into two components, water and CO2, leaving no toxic residues behind.[33] This source of mulch is even less manual labor since it does not need to be removed at the end of the season and can actually be tilled into the soil.[33] With this mulch it is important to take into consideration that it's much more delicate than other kinds. It should be placed on a day which is not too hot and with less tension than other synthetic mulches.[33] These also can be placed by machine or hand but it is ideal to have a more starchy mulch that will allow it to stick to the soil better.

See also
icon Gardening portal
Forestry mulching
Good Agricultural Practices
Rubber mulch
Plasticulture
Integrated pest management
Living mulch
Mulching machine
References
RHS A–Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
Alfred J. Turgeon; Lambert Blanchard McCarty; Nick Edward Christians (2009). Weed control in turf and ornamentals. Prentice Hall. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-13-159122-6.
Mahesh K. Upadhyaya; Robert E. Blackshaw (2007). Non-chemical Weed Management: Principles, Concepts and Technology. CABI. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-84593-291-6.
Vegetable Gardening: Growing and Harvesting Vegetables. Murdoch Books. 2004. pp. 110–. ISBN 978-1-74045-519-0.
Dennis R. Pittenger (2002). California Master Gardener Handbook. UCANR Publications. pp. 567–. ISBN 978-1-879906-54-9.
Louise; Bush-Brown, James (1996). America's garden book. New York: Macmillan USA. p. 768. ISBN 0-02-860995-6{{inconsistent citations}}
Leon C. Snyder (2000). Gardening in the Upper Midwest. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-8166-3838-3.
Patrick Whitefield, 2004, The Earth Care Manual, Permanent Publications, ISBN 978-1-85623-021-6
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 6-7. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
Galloway, David. "Get Your New Garden Ready for Spring with Old Carpet". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
http://www.eau.ee/~agronomy/vol07Spec1/p7sI53.pdf[permanent dead link]
http://joa.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=3111&Type=2
Jeff Gillman (1 February 2008). The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawnbacks, and the Bottom Line. Timber Press. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-1-60469-005-7.
Stout, Ruth. Gardening Without Work. Devon-Adair Press, 1961. Reprinted by Norton Creek Press, 2011, pp. 192-193. ISBN 978-0-9819284-6-3
David A. Bainbridge (11 June 2007). A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands. Island Press. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-61091-082-8.
Milne, R.; T. A. Brown (1997). "Carbon in the vegetation and soils of Great Britain". Journal of Environmental Management. 49: 413–433. doi:10.1006/jema.1995.0118.
Walker, John (2011). How to Create an Eco Garden: The practical guide to greener, planet-friendly gardening. Wigston, Leicestershire: Aquamarine. p. 33. ISBN 9781903141892.
Taylor, Eric L.; Foster, Darwin. "Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch". Texas A&M. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Tips On Using Pine Straw For Garden Mulch". 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
"Product Information - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine (MIPA)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Product Safety Assessment - DOW™ Monoisopropanolamine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Mulch_Magic_Red.pdf". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Agriculture" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
"Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture - Purdue University". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Is There a Spray You Can Use to Renew Your Mulch Color?". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
"Beware of Sour Mulch". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
Brandsaeter et al. 1998, Tharp and Kells, 2001
Jacke and Toensmeier, Edible Forest Gardening, vol. II
Dovorak, P. "BLACK POLYPROPYLENE MULCH TEXTILE IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE" (PDF). Czech University of Life Science Prague, Kamýcká. 52. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Shonbeck, Dr. Mark (12 September 2012). "Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management". Extension. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Corbin, A (2013). "Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2014.
"Biodegradable Mulch Demonstrations". Penn State Extension. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
External links
Look up mulch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mulch.
Mulching Trees & Shrubs
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