cover crops

James P. H. Fuller jim at
Thu Nov 28 11:06:42 EST 1991

TW.A38 at (CHRIS BALL) writes:

> Another topic that I would like more information on is the use of
> non-biological mulches such as black plastic.  Has anyone used these
> in large scale, non-research situations?  I have suggested
> non-biological mulches simply because it seems that too great a
> volume of something like woodchips would be required to be
> practical on a planting of say fifteen acres on 6'x8' spacing.

          "I thought for a while that black plastic was the answer to
     a gardener's prayer.  Weeds under it die out for lack of light, it's
     cheap, and it keeps evaporation to zero.  Small holes that I poked
     through it here and there let the rain seep through.  But black
     plastic is an eyesore the like of which you can't appreciate until
     you have watched it flap forever in the breeze, glinting black and
     shiny by turn until it drives you mad.  You throw soil on it and it
     still glints, until in desperation you cover the whole surface --
     enough so that weeds begin to grow on top of it.
          "And how do you get rid of it?  Plowing and cultivating won't
     do.  It's there forever, or so it seems.  Plastic I put down a
     dozen years ago still keeps tangling my cultivator.  I have a roll
     I'll sell real cheap."
                                    ...  Richard C. Davis
                                         former editor, _Farm Journal_

| James P. H. Fuller, Research Coordinator      Soil Biology Laboratory |
|                                               Institute of Ecology    |
| work: fuller at                University of Georgia   |
| home: <jim,root>                 Athens, GA U.S.A.       |

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