Plastic mulch is a type of mulch made of either red, black, or clear plastic. It usually comes in large rolls. Many people use this kind of mulch because the plastic tends to be every effective at preventing weed growth. This is because the plastic can keep sunlight out, which means the weed seeds may not be able to germinate. Plastic mulch might also be beneficial for keeping the soil moist and locking heat inside the ground. Although there are many advantages to using this type of mulch, there may also be a few downsides.
Mulch made of plastic might not be the best choice for everyone. One thing a person may want to seriously consider before purchasing it is the color. Black plastic mulch may be the best option for someone who is looking for better heat absorption inside the garden soil because the color black tends to absorb heat from the sun. Red mulch might be a good choice for someone who is growing tomatoes, strawberries, or any other type of red-colored plant, because some studies have shown red plants that are mulched with red mulch tend to be stronger and healthier. Clear plastic mulch might be better to use inside greenhouses or some other covered area, because the clear mulch will not usually be able to keep sunlight out, and it may not be as effective for keeping the soil warm.
Plastic mulches must typically be applied before plants are actually placed in the ground. Most people do this by first preparing the ground for planting and then rolling the layers of plastic mulch out. There is usually a 3- to 5-foot (0.9- to 1.5-m) hole dug on each side of the plastic roll for the edges to fall into. After the plastic has been rolled out, plants must be put into the ground by cutting a hole inside the plastic mulch. A hole may also be dug for the application of fertilizer.
Unlike natural types of mulch, plastic mulch must be disposed of. It does not biodegrade quickly like pine needles, bark, or other types of mulches. Even though it does not biodegrade quickly, it can typically be recycled. Many people prefer plastic mulch to other types because of its exceptional ability to increase heat and moisture to their plants, which might result in greater overall crop yield. Other people would rather stick to using natural mulches because they find the plastic variety difficult to install and do not like the fact that it must be disposed of.