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Benefits of Red Mulch

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017

Red plastic mulch covering the ground around your fruit and vegetables can increase overall yields and vigor of your crops. Mulch also prohibits weed growth, helps the soil retain water and keeps the vegetation clean. You can find red plastic mulch at your local garden supply store, or from online retailers.


According to agricultural research studies posted by the Crop Science of America and Texas A&M University, among others, red plastic mulch increases the yields of strawberry, tomato, and other vegetable crops. This increased yield is attributed in part to the reflective properties of the red mulch in combination with other mulch benefits of water retention and soil conservation.


In addition to greater yields, crops grown with the benefit of red plastic mulch as opposed to bare ground also evidenced more vigor, or larger fruit and vegetables. The difference in size of the crops mentioned in the studies is attributed to the close proximity of the plants to the reflective red mulch.


Of all the colors in the light spectrum, red and far-red light waves have the greatest affect on plant growth. Red light triggers plant hormones that encourage flowering and budding. One benefit of developing fruits and vegetables on top of red mulch is that they not only receive the red and far-red rays from the sun, but from the morphogenic light reflected from the red mulch beneath them.

Soil Temperature

Soil temperature plays an important role in the development of fruits and vegetables. One of the benefits of red mulch is that the reflective qualities work to increase soil temperatures, especially in combination with black plastic mulch. Increased soil temperatures have an impact on nutrition and root development in vegetation. The temperature of the soil under plastic mulch is based on reflection, absorption and transmission of the incoming radiation from the sun.

Other Benefits

Red mulch helps suppress weed growth which reduces the amount of herbicides needed for weed prevention. Mulch also helps the surrounding plants retain water, which in turn conserves the amount of additional water needed for the plants to thrive. Plastic mulches are also used to help keep fruits and vegetables clean as the mulch rests between the soil and the vegetation. The vegetables and fruit that fall off of the plants land on the mulch, not the soil. Water can also splatter the soil back up onto the fruit or vegetables if they are planted over bare soil.



About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.