Clear or translucent polyethylene sheets are strong transmitters of sunlight, and trap heat. One advantage of clear over black sheets is because what happens underneath is always visible (August 2005). Note the water condensation that occurs because the surface of the sheet is cooler than the air underneath. Although clear sheeting appears to "kill" kudzu, if left uncovered some vines begin to grow again. This is also true for black sheets.


Temperature gauges are easily seen through this kind of sheet, for easy monitoring (first photograph, June 2005). Note the high temperature! However, the major disadvantage of clear or translucent or white polyethylene sheets are their relatively quick degradation by ultraviolet light (UV) contained in sunlight (second photograph, May 2005). The first symptom is usually that sheets split at fold lines. Eventually the plastic shatters, and becomes too fragile to pick up. We have not experienced this with black sheets to the same degree: Clear sheets lose their physical integrity after 6 to 8 weeks, whereas black sheets last an entire season, or longer, before splits first occur. Sheets with UV protection are available at greater cost, and Coalition experiments confirm their greater longevity.

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The effectiveness of black and clear sheets is compared elsewhere.