Black plastic mulch modifies the micro-climate around plants, enhancing the growth, yield, and quality of horticultural crops. Used in experiments and field production since the late 1950's, black plastic mulch has proven to boost agricultural productivity.
The mulch's black color prevents light transmission, which in turn prevents weed growth under the material. Under black plastic mulch, soil is warmed 3-5°F at depths of 2 to 6". This is the area of greatest root growth early in the season, and the increased heat accelerates root and plant growth. Plastic mulch is impervious to water, so soil moisture evaporates only through planting holes. Less water is needed to keep plants healthy, and efficiency can be optimized by installing drip irrigation lines under the plastic. Plastic mulch also prevents nutrient runoff during periods of excessive rain.
Plastic mulch is flexible and stretchable, so it conforms to both flat and raised beds. It is strong enough for double cropping in the same season and possibly for use over two seasons.