Table Weed suppression Table Weed cover in biomulch
Overall, results suggest that biofabrics and bioplastics are useful for conserving soil moisture in irrigated vegetable cropping systems, relative to bare soil. As long as the mulch remains intact, it should serve to reduce soil water evaporative loss within the crop row (Larsson and Båth, 1996). However, as the mulch deteriorates and bare soil is exposed, evaporative loss will increase. As the growing season progresses and Linifanib becomes limiting, soil moisture beneath impermeable mulches (i.e., PE and bioplastic films) tends to decrease if drip irrigation rates are not increased (Larsson and Båth, 1996). One potential benefit of spunbond, nonwoven biofabrics is that they are permeable and precipitation may percolate through the fabric into the soil below. The combination of permeability and the physical barrier to evaporative loss resulted in substantial increases in soil moisture after significant rainfall events in 2013 of this study (weeks 9 and 15 after transplanting; Table 4). In this way, biofabrics perform physically more similar to organic mulch like straw or wood chips, than they do a typical PE film (Larsson and Båth, 1996). Permeability of biofabrics will also help to reduce excessive runoff associated with plasticulture production systems, which is increasingly important for farms located in and around cities where storm water management is of concern (Wortman and Lovell, 2013).