Robert Marvel Plastic Mulch, LLC

Phone 717-838-0976

Fax 717-838-0978

               Your source for all your plastic mulch and drip irrigation needs since 1974!

"Not only do we sell these fine products we also use them. We are farmers too! We know these products perform!"

Embossed Colored Mulches


The use of the traditional black and clear plastic mulches is a well documented case. The use of colored mulches and their benefits is just beginning to emerge. An article dated August 15, 1991 in the Washington Post noted scientists are discovering that colored mulches could have a profound effect on plant size, yield, earliness of harvest and potentially flavor.

It’s all connected to the way plants “read” light, the way light is reflected and how light waves signal plants to act in certain ways, according to Michael Kasperbauer, research plant physiologist at the USDA’S Costal Plains Research Center in Florence, SC and Patrick Hunt, soil scientist at the center.

“Visible light,” Kasperbauer explained, “is that part of the spectrum between 400 and 700 nanometers. We see different shades of red from 600 to 700 nanometers.” (A nanometer is a measure of wavelength.) Plants, he continued, “see” another red, called far-red, which is just beyond human vision. It occurs on the spectrum scale at a wavelength of about 720 to 750 nanometers.

In nature, green leaves absorb red and reflect far-red, so when a plant “sees” a high proportion of far-red it reacts as if there were competing plants present. It springs into a survival mode, rather like that produced by adrenalin pumping when fear strikes a human. Since plants can’t flee for their lives, instead they grow taller and put out leaves that are thin and contain extra chlorophyll and proteins to use light more efficiency.

What all this means to the gardener standing there scratching his head at his fear-struck tomatoes is bigger, healthier plants with greater yields that ripen earlier. Even more intriguing, said Hunt, is that this stimulus-response mechanism can be fine-tuned to produce a specific result at a certain time.

The important thing is that we will be able to keep all of the good water conservation and weed control benefits of mulch, plus the added benefit of using reflected light to improve the amount and quality of plant products at little extra cost.

The green mulch is widely used on peppers, cantaloupes, watermelons and other vine crops. Green acts like clear in warming the soil but at the same preventing weeds, mostly broad-leaf and a few grasses, like the black mulch. Depending on weather conditions, using green plastic results in a five to ten day earlier crop harvest than black mulch. There is also an increase in yields.

According to researchers at Cornell and Clemson universities when tomatoes are grown on red mulch they have higher yields, stronger stems and ripen earlier. Research has also found that red mulch reduces nematode damage. The plant responds to the high proportion of reflected far-red from the red mulch by growing taller and putting out more leaves.

White on black mulch is used to help cool the soil for mid to late summer planting of crops for the fall of which would benefit from the cooler soil temperature. Lettuce, broccoli cauliflower, and other cole crops benefit from this mulch. This mulch increases yields and reduces aphid populations.



© Robert Marvel Plastic Mulch LLC, 2002 - Present All rights reserved

ebsite design and hosting by Harrisburg Websites  E-Net