IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Mulch resistance to water vapor transport


  • Fuchs, M.
  • Hadas, A.


Mulches augment soil moisture availability to plants by restraining direct evaporation of soil water. Yet, in field conditions wind decreases their resistance to water vapor transport, diminishing their efficiency as a water conservation measure. The relation between vapor transport resistance and wind speed was investigated in a wind tunnel where air flow was turbulent. The mulch material was chopped straw with bulk densities of 31 and 37 kg m-3, and chemically stabilized aggregates segregated in diameter classes 1-2, 2-4, 4-8, 8-11.2 mm, in layers 10-100 mm thick. The resistance decreased exponentially with increasing wind speed from the molecular diffusion value at zero wind speed, suggesting that turbulence penetrates the pores of the mulch and drives convective water vapor transport. Resistance rose exponentially with increasing layer thickness, a mirror reflection of the turbulence decay profile. Higher bulk density of the straw and finer aggregates augmented the resistance. The convective component of the vapor transport resistance was related to mulch area index, defined as the surface area of the solid elements of mulch per unit covered ground area. This procedure merged the effect of layer thickness and that of straw bulk density or aggregates size into a single function, indicating that friction forces proportional to internal area of the solid fabric restrain the penetration of momentum in the porous medium. Two-layered mulches combining straw and aggregates have a higher resistance than the sum of the resistances of the individual components as is expected from the attenuation of convection in the top layer. The functions derived in this study can serve as input for models evaluating the impact of mulches on soil water balance.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuchs, M. & Hadas, A., 2011. "Mulch resistance to water vapor transport," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(6), pages 990-998, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:6:p:990-998

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xie, Zhongkui & Wang, Yajun & Jiang, Wenlan & Wei, Xinghu, 2006. "Evaporation and evapotranspiration in a watermelon field mulched with gravel of different sizes in northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(1-2), pages 173-184, March.
    2. Xie, Zhongkui & Wang, Yajun & Cheng, Guodong & Malhi, Sukhdev S. & Vera, Cecil L. & Guo, Zhihong & Zhang, Yubao, 2010. "Particle-size effects on soil temperature, evaporation, water use efficiency and watermelon yield in fields mulched with gravel and sand in semi-arid Loess Plateau of northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(6), pages 917-923, June.
    3. Yamanaka, Tsutomu & Inoue, Mitsuhiro & Kaihotsu, Ichirow, 2004. "Effects of gravel mulch on water vapor transfer above and below the soil surface," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 145-155, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mukherjee, A. & Sarkar, S. & Chakraborty, P.K., 2012. "Marginal analysis of water productivity function of tomato crop grown under different irrigation regimes and mulch managements," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 121-127.
    2. de Souza, Edivan Rodrigues & Montenegro, Abelardo Antônio de Assunção & Montenegro, Suzana Maria Gico & de Matos, José de Arimatea, 2011. "Temporal stability of soil moisture in irrigated carrot crops in Northeast Brazil," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 26-32.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:98:y:2011:i:6:p:990-998. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.