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Table 1 Comparison of various characteristics between organic and plastic mulching

From: Mulching as water-saving technique in dryland agriculture: review article

Subject Organic mulching Plastic mulching
Materials type Bio-based cellulose, chips, leaf, paper Acetate, polyethylene, polymeric material
Durability Temporary and decay over time Long-lasting, 2–3 crop seasons
Thickness 3–5 cm, controlled by application rates 15–20 μm; 15 μm is most effective
Colors Natural Black, silver, white, red, blue, yellow, etc.
Weed control Effective but grass material grows weed High weed competition except the transparent color
Solarization Not effective in most of the cases Most effective by boosting soil temperature
Pest management Reduces thrips and fungal disease Reduces thrips, spider mites, and whiteflies
Fragments Degradable to soil Problematic and contaminated after 1-2 seasons
Availability Locally available Not locally available
Priority mulch Straw (rice and wheat) Black plastic
Costing Cheap Expensive
Labor Not laborious Laborious during setting and removing
Degradability Naturally decompose and add nutrients Discarded and buried that polluted soil
Plant growth Moderate growth Fast growth and earlier harvesting
Water infiltration Increases Restricts water flow