Black plastic mulch is the predominant color used in vegetable production. It absorbs most ultra-violet (UV), visible, and infrared wavelengths (IR) of incoming solar radiation and re-radiates absorbed energy. Because thermal conductivity of the soil is high relative to that of air, much of the energy absorbed by black plastic can be transferred to the soil by conduction if the plastic mulch is in close contact with the soil surface. Heat transfer may or may not be desirable depending on the crop grown, time of year, and local climate.
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