Mulching Comparison for Watermelon & Sweet Potato Production

Published Dec 6, 2014

Fruit and vegetable farmers use mulch to control weed competition plus increase moisture retention for cash crops. Many fruit and vegetable farmers use plastic mulch but concerns about its environmental sustainability have farmers wanting to test other mulch types.

Key Findings

In 2012, both mulches reduced weeds compared to bare ground and the plastic mulch resulted in greatest sweet potato yields.

In 2013, watermelon production was similar in the paper mulch and control plots.

In 2014, sweet potato production trended higher in the plastic mulch although not statistically greater. The paper mulch and control were similar again but the paper mulch was shredded due to extreme weather leaving little mulch.