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Plastic Mulch Sheets and Biodegradable Mulch Sheets: Pros and Cons

Let's see what they are, how to use them, and what advantages and disadvantages plastic mulch sheets and biodegradable mulch sheets have.

by BioGrow

I plastic mulch sheets are an economical alternative to organic materials like straw, jute, or wool. Of course, it is always best to opt for natural materials, but sometimes, for various reasons, this is not possible. In such cases, various types of plastic mulch sheets are available on the market, adaptable to different cultivation needs depending on the cultivated areas. The most common and affordable ones are the 4mm thick plastic sheets, pre-perforated at different intervals depending on the type of cultivation.

In this article, we will see what these sheets are, how to use them, and what advantages and disadvantages they have.

What are Plastic Mulch Sheets

Plastic mulch film

Plastic mulch film on spinach, perforated every 20 cm

These plastic mulch sheets are specifically designed for agricultural use and provide a viable alternative to natural mulching (which, of course, whenever possible, is always preferred). The advantage of these sheets lies in their price (You can find them here). However, if you visit a specialized store, you may get a lower price than the one offered in the link (which still offers the advantage of home delivery) since this type of sheet is usually sold by weight. If you are not in a hurry and want to save some money, it’s worth a try. In general, though, the cost of these sheets is relatively low compared to those made of organic materials. Another alternative we will discuss shortly is biodegradable mulch sheets.

How to Use Plastic Mulch Sheets

Naturally, plastic mulch sheets should be laid on the irrigation system. You need to position the holes at the right distance from the irrigation tube (max 5 cm). And you must do this before sowing or planting the crops in the soil. The sheet should then be secured to the ground using some soil or, if you want to ensure no inconveniences, a series of anchoring stakes. The cost of these stakes is not excessive, and it is definitely a recommended choice (You can find them here).

Pros and Cons of Plastic Mulch Sheets

When we talk about significant cultivations, as mentioned earlier, using this type of plastic mulch sheets is preferable from an economic point of view compared to natural mulching. However, it must be said that some of the typical advantages of organic use are lost. The issue of disposing of the plastic sheet after it has been used is still a concern. Moreover, the supply of organic matter to the soil, which promotes optimal plant growth, is lost. Nevertheless, from an effectiveness perspective, the plastic sheet can provide up to 95% weed control. It can also reduce water consumption, improving soil moisture. For these reasons, it remains a valid alternative solution, at least from an effectiveness standpoint.

Biodegradable Mulch

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Biodegradable mulch is a compromise solution between natural and plastic mulch. Essentially, it is very similar to polyethylene mulch, but biodegradable materials are used for the sheets. These can be incorporated into the soil at the end of the cultivation season or when they are no longer reusable. However, it should be noted that if the issue is the cost of materials for mulching, these biodegradable sheets are not very affordable. Perhaps their use is sustainable only in small home gardens (you can evaluate it here). On the other hand, if the financial investment is sustainable, we always recommend using natural mulching.

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