Patent Number: 6,293,045

Title: Biodegradable mulch mat

Abstract: Mulch mat comprising an air and water-permeable, light-impermeable, open celled, composite of granular material and biodegradable fibers in a binder matrix prepared from a foam precursor. Disclosed biodegradable fibers include cellulosic fibers such as shredded wood, straw, shredded paper, wood pulp, cotton fiber, shredded corn stalks and moss; protein fibers such as hair and gelatin; and synthetic polymer such as vinyl polymer fibers and polyamide fibers. Disclosed granular material includes milled hard vegetation such as corn cob, nut shells, seed hulls, seeds, bark and gourds; soil builders such as vermiculite, perlite, sand, diatomaceous earth and gypsum; nutrients such as nitrate compounds, potassium compounds and phosphorus compounds; soil conditioners such as limestone, sulfur and iron sulfate. Useful binders include polysaccharides, polyglycosides, vegetable gums, vinyl polymers, waxes and crosslinkable oils. Useful surfactants include saponin, e.g. extract of Yucca shidigera, and amine surfactants. Slurries of fiber, granular material, binder and surfactant are gas entrained, e.g. by whipping, to provide a foam which is applied to soil around seedlings; the foams dry to a durable, biodegradable mulch mat which suppresses weeds, builds soil, prevents erosion, conserves soil and water and improves soil temperature providing an enhanced growing environment. The mat is effective in suppressing weeds growing below the mat in horticultural gardens. Seeds grown in or on top of the mat can penetrate the mat providing plants growing in artistic or information-conveying, patterned displays on mulch mat.

Inventors: Morgan; Albert W. (Clinton, IL)

Assignee:

International Classification: C09K 17/52 (20060101); C09K 17/00 (20060101); C09K 017/52 ()

Expiration Date: 09/25/2018