Soil Solarization

  • Soil Solarization
    • Moisten the soil, then lay clear plastic tarps over the soil for 4-6 weeks during the hottest part of the summer. Daytime temperatures need to be at least 80 degrees, F. for it to be warm enough.
      • effects can be improved by using a second layer of clear plastic, and by incorporating poultry litter prior to solarization; also, brassica cuttings or residue has a fumigation effect (biofumigation), if they are also incorporated before laying the plastic down.
    • Only effective in the top 12 inches of soil.
    • This method also kills beneficial soil biology, which is competing for resources with the pest nematodes. When done solarizing, make sure to add compost, composted manure, and/or compost tea to bring biological activity back up.
  • For effective solarization, moisten the soil, then cover it with a clear, plastic tarp. Leave the tarp in place for 4 to 6 weeks during the hottest part of summer.
  • The effectiveness of solarization is reduced in cool coastal areas, where summer temperatures commonly remain below 80°F.
  • For a complete discussion of solarization, see Soil Solarization listed in References. (UC Davis IPM)

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