University of California

The effect of a paper mulch on soil temperature


Charles F. Shaw

Author Affiliations

Charles F. Shaw was professor of Agronomy, College of Agriculture, University of California. Acknowledgments are due to Professor J. W. Gilmore, who supervised the planting and supplied all crop data, and to Mr. E. V. Winterer, who cared for the thermographs and made the soil moisture determinations.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 1(15):341-364. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v01n15p341. April 1926.

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Paper mulch is a term applied to a covering of specially prepared paper placed on the surface of the soil for the purpose of modifying soil temperatures, decreasing losses in soil moisture by evaporation and preventing or decreasing the growth of weeds. The paper mulch is extensively used in the Hawaiian Islands on pineapples and to some extent on sugar cane and certain vegetables. Farmers and vegetable growers in California are experimenting with the paper mulch and manufacturers are putting on the market papers specially prepared for this purpose.

There is very little literature bearing directly on this subject. The proceedings of the Annual Short Courses in Pineapple Production at the University of Hawaii(1),(2),(3) contain some discussions of the paper mulch, and a number of papers of a popular nature have been published in the news journals of the Islands. Mr. Charles F. Eckart,(4) the originator and patentee of the method, and the manufacturers of mulching paper, report material benefits from its use, especially in weed control and in increased crop yields. In none of these publications is there any extended discussion of the effects on soil temperature or soil moisture.


[1] University of Hawaii. Second annual short course in pineapple production 1923. pp.36-39. 74-75, 143-144

[3] University of Hawaii. Annual Report, Department of Agriculture 1924. p.41.

[2] University of Hawaii. Annual Report, Department of Agriculture 1925. pp.7-8.

[4] Eckart Chas. F. How thermogen enhances the growth of plants 1923. pp.1-29.

Shaw C. 1926. The effect of a paper mulch on soil temperature. Hilgardia 1(15):341-364. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v01n15p341
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