Summary: Solarization is a simple and safe method to kill weed seeds, nematodes and soilborne diseases prior to planting flower and vegetable crops. During months when there is clear warm weather the sun can be used together with clear plastic film to heat soil to temperatures that kill soil pests. The plastic film is left in place for 4 to 6 weeks, and then removed. The soil is then ready for planting.
How to solarize soil:
- The area to be solarized should be free of debris and large dirt clods.
- Till the area to be treated if you have clods. The soil surface should be raked smooth before covering with plastic.
- The soil should be moistened if dry, but not saturated.
- Place clear plastic over soil and bury the edges or place heavy objects on the edges to keep the plastic in place and from blowing away.
- The plastic be clear construction grade plastic and thinner plastic (25-50 μm) will allow better soil heating.
- The plastic should be left in place for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Do not allow anyone or animals to walk on and damage the plastic. Repair any damages to plastic.