My goal is to collect data available in scientific journals, project reports and other experience on the benefit of wool as organic mulching material.
Usually there are different mulching materials compared for their efficacy, such as straw, wood pellets, live mulch, plastic cover and woven or raw wool.
Farmers compared wool mulch, hay mulch with uncovered control in vegetable production (eggplants, tomato and pepper). As a result, the average weight of tomatoes harvested per day in the wool-mulch treatment was 18 pounds, in the hay-mulch treatment it was 11 pounds, and the control of no mulch was 10.5 pounds. The average weight of revolution peppers harvested per day in the wool-mulch treatment was 7.5 pounds per day, in the hay-mulch treatment and in the control plot was the same 4.5 pounds. The average weight of black beauty eggplant harvested per day in the wool-mulch was 7 pounds, while hay-mulch and no mulch harvests weights were 2 pounds and 2.5 pounds respectively.
The results of the foliar analysis showed that Nitrogen levels in the tissue samples were the highest in wool-mulch treatment the lowest or deficient in the hay-mulch treatment, and normal in the control or no mulch treatment.
Soil moisture content was higher in the wool and hay treatment than in the control, no mulch treatment.
Wool had the most insulating effect. There was less temperature fluctuation in the wool-mulch treatment.
We have found that wool is a great weed barrier. It helps maintain soil moisture, keeps soil temperature more constant, and nitrogen is present in greater amounts in the plants when wool is used as a mulch. Productivity and yields are increased when wool is used as mulch. In another plot outside of the formal experiment, we found that it was a deer deterrent. We had 3 row of sweet potatoes mulch with wool the deer did not bother. One row was mulched with hay and the deer did eat them!
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Project 2011-2012, USA Ohaio