Red Tomato Mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Troy, NY
Question by erika60
January 11, 2000
I am planning my summer garden and noticed the red tomato mulch in the Burpee catalog. I'd was wondering why the red mulch for tomatoes? What is it about red light that increases their production?


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Answer from NGA
January 11, 2000

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The SRM-Red (Selective Reflecting Mulch) is a red mulch that performs like black plastic to warm the soil and retain moisture. Research by the USDA and Clemson University has shown that the use of this thin plastic film has resulted in increased production of quality early tomatoes (12-20%) when compared to black mulch. The increase is attributed to the film reflecting far-red light up into the plant. The film color and wave length reflection must be specific to achieve good results. This research has determined that certain red shades reflect into the plant and affect phytochrome, a color-sensitive protein that regulates plant growth and development.

Hope this answers your question!

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