Films with different combinations of layers, thicknesses and widths as well as coatings have various properties to suit specific growers’ needs, specifications and crops. These films have many different advantages to suit a wide range of purposes including:
- Moisture protection and water conservation. Saves water and fertilizers by reducing evaporation and water fluctuations in the soil, and helps maintain constant humidity in the root zone.
- Weed control. Sealed or opaque mulch films reduce weed germination and save on herbicides.
- Root development. The combination of films and drip irrigation improves water dispersion and contributes to maintaining consistent levels of moisture in the soil. In addition, darkness under the mulch “raises” root development towards ground level. Oxygen availability in the upper soil and darkness provide ideal microclimate conditions for root development under the mulch.
- Modification of microclimates in plant and soil environments. Transparent film helps retain heat and raises the soil temperature, which is significant in the fall, winter and early spring. Opaque films (such as black/silver, black/ black) reduce the day-night temperature fluctuations in the soil, and black/white films reflect the light and enhance photosynthesis.
- Substrate for plants and fruit. The mulch films prevent direct contact between the plants and fruit on the one hand, and the soil on the other hand and thereby maintain fruit quality.
- Pest attraction or repelling. Reflective films (silver facing up) repel pests, specifically aphids and trips. Yellow mulch films attract moths and reduce their adhesion ability.
- Prevention of fertilizer dilution. In open areas, the use of mulch films prevents the dilution of fertilizers which may occur in the root zone area (specifically in high precipitation microclimate areas).
An additional upgrade of films for orchard plantations have led to further improvements in orchards as the very strong mechanical properties are specifically formulated to protect against UV, heat and agrochemical premature degradation. Recent studies conducted in California and Israel on a range of orchards showed that these Mulch films help to achieve advantages in addition to those listed above. These extra advantages include improved yields and fruit quality, protection of drip irrigation systems against bird damage, increased oxygen availability and improved color in red fruits (30% reflection (UV) S/B).