Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Henry Andrews

Committee Members

Edward E.C. Clebsch, Elmer Gray


Mulches are used to stimulate plant vigor and growth by increasing the soil temperature, decreasing soil moisture loss by evaporation, and in many cases controlling weeds. Throughout the ages rocks, stones. dry soil, and almost all forms of naturally occurring plant residues have been used as mulches. Some of the newer mulching materials are black paper, polyethylene plastic, and liquid mulches that are sprayed on the soil surface. The paper and plastic mulching materials have brought about the greatest changes in the plant's microenvironment. These two materials have a greater water and temperature holding capacity than do any of the older mulching materials. The greatest disadvantages of paper and plastic are the diffi-culty of application and the reclaiming of the material at the end of the growing season. Because of this, spray-on agricultural mulches have been developed which can be applied with conventional spray equipment and for which there is no need of reclamation. Weed control is the greatest problem to be coped with when the liquid mulches are used. They provide better growing conditions for the crop, but at the same time better growing conditions are also provided for the weeds. In this study a specially formulated water emulsion of petroleum resins, supplied by the ESSO Research and Engineering Company, Linden, New Jersey, was used as a spray-on mulch. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the petroleum mulch and methods of preemergence application of herbicides on weed control, soil moisture. soil temperature, and cotton yield.

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