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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 50 No. 1, p. 205-209
    Received: Aug 16, 1985
    Accepted: July 5, 1985

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Field Aging of Transparent Polyethylene Mulches: II. Influence on the Effectiveness of Soil Heating1

  1. R. Avissar,
  2. O. Naot,
  3. Y. Mahrer and
  4. J. Katan2



Photometric properties of transparent polyethylene (PE) mulches change significantly during prolonged field utilization. In order to test and explain the effects of these changes on the temperature regime of mulched soil, we developed a one-dimensional numerical model, which simulates the microclimate of mulched soils. The model consists of three layers: soil, plastic, and the air enclosed between them. Given the thermal and hydraulic properties of the soil, the photometric properties of the plastic, and appropriate climatic conditions, the model computes the diurnal variation in temperature and humidity of the different layers. Field measurements verify the model's ability to predict the temperature regimes of mulched soils. Both numerical and field experiments show that mulching the soil with PE sheets previously used during one solarization season, rather than new ones, results in more effective heating of the soil and, therefore, faster killing of pathogenic soil fungi. This is explained by the relatively higher reflectance of new mulch, due to the condensation of small water droplets on its inner surface. Recycling polyethylene sheets, previously used for agricultural purposes, provides an extremely inexpensive method for soil mulching.

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