Hydroseeded mulch as an alternative to plastic mulch films

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2007: $14,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Gary L. Hawkins
University of Georgia

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: mulching - plastic
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    This project was initially submitted and lead by Dr. Barbara Bellows with the University of Georgia Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. Since the beginning of the project, Dr. Bellows has left the University and the project has been turned over to Dr. Gary L. Hawkins of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. Some initial work has been conducted by the farmer participate, Mr. Bob Rawlings, on his own, but nothing associated with the grant. An initial meeting with the local Extension agent and Mr. Rawlings has started the discussions on treatments, materials to use and timing of project milestones. Since the project has been turned over to Dr. Hawkins, 3 meetings between dr. Hawkins, Mr. Rawlings, Mr. Scott Utley (County Extension Agent) has been conducted to layout the treatments, discuss the materials to be used as potential hydromulches. A strip till rig has been purchased and modified to form a vegetable bed that will be used for applying the hydromulch material and conducing the test. The newly purchased can also be used to apply plastic mulch in operations that use cover crops as a cover material in conservation tillage systems. This new plastic layer (and bed former) will be shared and used by other vegetable growers interested in growing cover crops in the winter and retaining cover crops while forming beds to plant vegetables or fruits. The strip till rig and plastic layer was not completed until after watermelons had been planted so plans are to use the machine will be used this summer to form some beds and apply hydromulch.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of the research project are:
    1. Test the characteristics of different organic materials that maybe used in providing a mulch for replacing plastic mulch in fruit and vegetable production systems
    2. Test various organic materials based on their characteristics from objective number 1
    3. Test materials from objective number 1 to find the one that best controls weeds
    4. Test materials from objective number 1 to find the one that best retains moisture
    5. Test materials from objective number 1 to find the one that best increases soil temperature

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.