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Plasticulture Equipment Rental

Plasticulture laid out in a field


Benefits of Plasticulture

Utilizing plasticulture equipment can help reduce soil compaction and soil-borne pathogens, increase water and fertilizer efficiency and extend the growing season. Additionally, crops are better protected from soil and water splash, resulting in cleaner harvests. Alternatives to plastic mulch film include biodegradable mulch, landscape fabric, paper, and burlap, which can all be utilized by the mulch layer.

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Buncombe County Center Small Farms Program has two pieces of plasticulture equipment that farmers in the WNC region may rent for their farms. A water wheel transplanter and a raised bed mulch layer are both available to rent for a nominal fee.


Water Wheel Transplanter . . . . . . $40/Day

Water Wheel TransplanterThis piece equipment is equipped with one (or two if needed) floating wheels that punch planting holes in plastic mulch while also delivering water into the planting hole. Removable spikes have the capacity of creating 8″ – 36″ row spacings. Four metal carrying trays can handle up to 25 trays. Bare roots, pots, and plugs can be used with this equipment. Two 80-gallon tanks mounted on the top of this implement make this equipment. Two 80-gallon tanks mounted on the top of this implement make this equipment extremely top heavy. It is not recommended on sloped ground due to the risk of rolling. Maximum rental period is 7 days. Requires a 50 HP tractor. 

Manual for Water Wheel Transplanter

* Only OMRI approved products can be used in the tanks.


Raised Bed Mulch Layer . . . . . . $50/Day

Raised Bed Mulch LayerIn one pass, this piece of equipment will form a raised bed, lay drip tape, and lay plastic (or other types of biodegradable) mulch. The ground should be prepared and very loose, and ideally somewhat moist before laying plastic. 1.25 mil plastic is recommended in 3 or 4-foot widths. Using 3-foot rolls of plastic will create a 19″ raised bed, while a 4-foot roll will create a 30″ raised bed. If transitioning from sod to a cultivated area, it is best to work the ground for one year before using the bedder. If working on a slope, it is recommended to pull the bedder in one direction only rather than going back and forth on the slope so that machine settings do not have to constantly be adjusted. It is recommended to lay the plastic mulch down 2-3 weeks before planting. Two people are recommended when laying plastic mulch to ensure plastic is being covered correctly. Maximum rental period is 7 days. Requires a 35 HP tractor. 

Manual for Raised Bed Mulch Layer


Equipment Rental Guidelines

  • Farmers in Buncombe, Haywood, and Henderson counties are eligible to rent the equipment.
  • Users are responsible for transporting the equipment and hauling trailer to and from the equipment storage location. The trailer requires a 2- 5/16″ ball hitch.
  • Users must sign a rental contract, and provide proof of insurance prior to reserving equipment.
  • Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and all soil debris removed before returning the equipment to the storage location. Cleaning fees will be charged if necessary.
  • Farmers are responsible for any damage they cause to the equipment.
  • Users will be billed for the number of days the equipment is used and must remit payment within 30 days. Late fees will be charged if equipment is returned after the contract date.

How to Rent Plasticulture Equipment

To schedule equipment, or if you have additional questions, email the Plasticulture Equipment Manager, Meghan Baker or call 828-255-5522.

Completed contracts are required prior to reserving equipment, and must be emailed to meghan_baker@ncsu.edu along with a copy of your current automobile insurance policy:

You will be billed for your usage after the equipment is returned and inspected. Online payments are encouraged.


The Buncombe County Plasticulture equipment, which includes a Raised Bed Mulch Layer and a Water Wheel Transplanter, was purchased with grant funds made available by the TVA Ag and Forestry Fund.