Mulch Color--Silver

Now through 4/27/2018 Get Silver mats for 15% off single mats (coupon code Silver15), and 5% off cases (coupon code Silver5).
Use the coupon code at checkout at flora-flow.com.
 
Shine a light on aphids with silver mulch
Battle potato beatles while encouraging plant growth too

How does silver mulch save and make you money?

  • Blocks Weeds
  • Retains Moisture
  • Extends Growing Season-- by 31 Days (see below)!
  • Reduces Insect Damage

Silver mulch combats aphids, potato beatles and others that hide beneath the leaf canopy to avoid predators and evade desiccating sunlight.   That may or may not be exactly what you need. But it does more too...

Triple Play

Compared to planting in bare ground or landscape fabrics plastic mulch in the form of our All-in-One Mats does much more:

Benefits:

 1. Plastic Mulch: 2. All-in-One Mats: 3. Silver Mulch:
  • Time and money savings
  • Weed blocking via sunlight blocking
  • Moisture retention and control via moisture barrier
  • Season extension via heat entrapment
  • More time and money savings
    • Easy layout and planting via Perforated planting hole
    • Simultaneous drip tape irrigation installation
    • Purchase just what you need--no need to buy or store bulky materials
  • Bright reflective surface
  • Additional plant growth via increased solar power
  • Bug fighting capabilities via increase light to leaf bottoms
Silver mulch with central black stripe for soil heating

What are the Pros and Cons of Silver Mulch?

After reading several papers on silver mulch it is very clear that it does a good job of:

  • Controlling insect damage
  • Promoting plant growth via increased light.
The potential downside to this is that silver mulch may reflect too much for your plants.  Your results may vary and we will look at a few examples to give you a sense of how and why.

Bell Peppers

A paper on growing bell peppers in Maine summarizes results of growing in black, silver, and black with white film-covered pathways in one or two rows per bed on three farms like this:

Pros

The tables show that more reflected light via either silver mulch or the black with white-interrow pathways produce more early sellable peppers, thus the more reflective the planting the higher the yield.  [As an aside, you can also read from the tables that closer/denser plantings produce small, but more plentiful fruits]. The cull table shows that insect damage and disease is less with the more reflective solutions.  The paper notes that there is three times the light in a field with black + white-interrow mulch. That is great news--the more light, the higher the yield and the lower the bug and disease damage to peppers.

Cons

On the other hand, the cull table also reveals that the more reflective solutions produce more light-related problems: sunscald, and blossom end rot.  Clearly too much light can be its own problem and this fact may be more significant in other crops.

Early Harvest  (These are sellable peppers--culls excluded)


Culls (Damaged peppers of harvestable size)

Chilli Peppers

Here is another set of data from India concerning season extension and flowering. [The paper looks at many different aspects of chilli growth in the listed varieties of plastic mulch with a bare-earth control plot.].

Season Extension

This study shows a shocking 31 day season extension in silver-mulched vs bare ground pepper production.

(from Table 6, Effect of various mulches on days to first and last picking on chilli)

Treatment

Days to 1st picking

Days to last picking

Picking Days

Black Mulch

66

150

84

Silver/Black Mulch

66

161

95 (MAX)

Rice Straw

67

143

76

Control (bare ground)

71

135

64 (MIN)


Days to Flowering

With respect to flowering, again the silver mulch rocks--six days earlier for flower production of possible interest to flower growers thinking of using flora-flow silver!

(from Table 5, Effect of various mulches on days to first and 50% flowering on chilli)

Treatment

Days to 1st flowering

Days to 50% flowering

Black Mulch

49

68

Silver/Black Mulch

46

71

Rice Straw

49

74

Control (bare ground)

50

74


More Data: Tomato, Pumpkin,Cucumber, Zucchinis, Squash, Cantaloupes, Eggplants, Broccoli and Sweet Corn

This article in the New York Times(AP, 7/6/99):  Silver Mulch Linked to More Robust Plants discusses more results of interest.

My recent brief blog post also talks about other studies that show the benefits of silver mulch.

 


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