Biodegradable Mulches Help Raspberry Growers Improve Crops

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In Washington, raspberry growers are using biodegradable plastic mulches instead of the usual polyethylene plastic mulches in their plantings for weed prevention and moisture control. Some farmers are noticing an improvement in crops with less viruses and diseases and increased growth rates with the biodegradable mulches. While the cost is expensive, farmers can save money in the long run since they don’t have to hire workers to hand weed or apply herbicides or to remove the plastic mulches once the raspberry plants are established. The biodegradable mulches need to be biodegradable at just the right time, however, as they need to be gone within six months of spring plantings and 12 to 18 months in fall plantings. If it’s gone too quickly, it won’t be doing its job of weed prevention and moisture control.