Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

L. Beger, K.-H. Feger, C. Knust, K. Schua:

Effects of biodegradable mulch mats on soil moisture and plant growth of a young short-rotation poplar plantation in Southern Brandenburg (NE Germany)


Severe water deficiency in young short-rotation plantations (SRP) can cause e.g. reduced biomass production or plant dieback. Therefore, effects of several mulch mats on soil moisture and plant growth were investigated in a SRP with sandy soil and negative climatic summer water balance in Southern Brandenburg (NE Germany). Soil moisture was enhanced by mulch mats, but only mats made of paper or coconut fibre with plastic film increased it significantly in the upper 40 cm. This effect was found both in wet and dry soil conditions. Furthermore, those mulch mats stimulated radial and height growth of Hybrid 275 and Max 1 poplars significantly. Overall, the resulting benefits of yield increase and less irrigation must be weighed against high material and installation expenses.

Key words: Mulch mat, soil moisture, plant growth, short rotation plantation, poplar.