What is Plastic Mulch?

Basically, mulch is used as soil covering. As we know that, there are two types of mulches organic mulch and inorganic mulch. Plastic mulch is the type of inorganic mulch. It is used in vegetables since 90’s. Back in 90’s it was used for the vegetable plants but it is also being used in the home gardens.  It utilizes polythene film that provides insulation. Polythene film is basically a black colored plastic. Its working is same as that of organic mulch.

The main purpose of polythene film is to provide insulation to the soil, prevents soil erosion and not only this it also reduces evaporation of water from the soil. The utilization of plastic as a mulching material raises natural concerns since plastic is a kind of oil based product. These are very difficult to recycle. Plastic mulching must be done very carefully as already mentioned that it is an oil based product so it has adverse effect on the surroundings.

Plastic mulch is not biodegradable as compared to organic mulch. As, it is petroleum based product so it is costly. It is not environment friendly. As, we know that, plastic materials are very hard to dispose so plastic mulch is also hard to dispose.

Types of plastic mulch

Basically, there are two types of plastic mulches black polythene film and clear polythene film. Both of them can be used in the gardens as well as in the landscape.

Black polythene film:  It moistens the soil and eliminates the weeds not only this+, it warms the soil in the winter season and helps in the plants growth. Clear plastic dose not eliminate weed growth but also warms the soil.

Clear polythene film: Most important advantage of clear polythene film is that it increases plant growth in every season. But it is not very much effective because it does not prevent weeds.

Benefits and adverse effects

Plastic mulching keeps soil from clustering together into a compacted wreck. It restricts the loss of plant nutrient by trapping heat and moisture. Most of the plants are temperature sensitive which means that their survival is either difficult in summer or in winter so the plastic mulch warms the temperature up to 5 degrees so that the temperature sensitive plant can survive in winter season as well. Plastic mulch is a source of killing weed from the gardens or landscape because it blocks the sunlight and as we know that sunlight is necessary for the weeds for the process photosynthesis. It increases the growth rate of the plant in every season. As, it kills the weeds so, there is a very little risk of roots damage. Most importantly it provides good quality products.

The major drawback of is that it warms the soil which is not suitable for some of the plants. Once, the soil’s temperature then there is no way to normalize the temperature which will destroy the plant. It moistens the soil so much and sometimes it is not good for the soil. Less amount of nutrients are obtained from the soil. It is also very expensive and is not environment friendly.


Mulching the plants is very much important. While mulching the garden or landscape it must be kept in mind that the mulching material must be environment friendly and has adverse effect on the plants or the soil. Plastic mulching is inorganic so we must prefer organic materials over inorganic. Plastic mulch has many disadvantages but few of the advantages are considered to be the best. At last, an individual decision however one ought to be made simpler with different sides of story.