To prevent rooting into an irrigation mat, five water porous materials, perforated black plastic, perforated ground cover, polyester, woven polypropylene and porous plastic, were evaluated as mat covers. Only polyester, woven polypropylene and porous plastic prevented penetration of roots of marigold seedlings into the mat. Under high moisture stress, root tips were killed at the cell drainage hole; however, under low moisture stress the roots formed a mat on top of these mat covers. To prevent root penetration out the drainage hole, polyester and porous plastic were glued over the hole. No difference in shoot growth was observed between the control (only polyester mat cover) and seedlings produced in drainage hole covered cells. Total root growth of plug seedlings with drainage hole covered were greater than the control. Ten days after transplanting, seedlings that had been produced in plugs, with covered drainage holes, were larger.