Soil solarization is an eco-friendly process of preparing the soil bed and making it free of germs, pests, unwelcoming plants and weeds, insects and all the other hostile and unfriendly factors out of the soil. The sun’s energy is harnessed using a specific method to sanitize it properly.
The question arises here is, does it negatively affect the ecosystem? Or is it hostile to the ecological balance?
To answer this question we have to look into the sources involved in the process. The second thing to be considered is the production of any by-product.
This process is friendly and feasible for our environment. It does not cause any harm to the surroundings. We can say so as it is using the energy of the sun which is not a threat to the green environment. Secondly, it does not involve the emission of any poisonous gasses. In the same way it does not have any role in global warming. It is a non-chemical method in which the energy from the sun is hitched and coupled by dressing the soil with a sheet to sanitize it.
How to Use Soil Solarization to Kill Weeds?
How to carry out the process?
To carry out the process, many factors are to be considered.
First of all the weather is well thought out. The soil solarization needs hot weather. It needs direct sun beams that are to be captured inside the mulching. In this process the targeted portion of the ground is treated. The ground is fully covered with a tarpaulin. It is mostly done with a polythene cover. This process is done to capture solar beams inside to gain the desired results.
Following are the steps involved in soil solarization.
- The desired patch is cleared of all types of trash. The debris is removed with rake. If there is waste or litter in the soil, it is to be removed with a garden hoe.
- Drench the soil with plenty of water. Soak it so much that it becomes completely wet and a bit soaking.
- Cover the marshy soil with a transparent plastic sheet. The mulching should be done with a clear and see-through sheet. The colored sheets will not do. The black, white, blue or any type of dyed and tainted plastic will not allow the shaft of sunlight to enter the soil as it should be.
- Bury the edges of the tarp properly. This step will not let the heat escape the corners. The heat stays inside making the thermal procedure more effective.
- Leave the tarpaulin in the same state for over 4 to 5 weeks or the desired time. Keep in mind that the desired weather for this process is the hottest of the summer. The sun beams heat up the muddy soil to such a hotness that kill not only the microbes like bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, and mites but also the weeds and the weed seeds.
- The plastic is removed from the soil patch after the desired results are achieved. This plastic is then washed. It is hence quite economical for the business owner to adopt such practice.
- Once the soil bed gets back to the normal temperature, it poses to be the best patch to have the harvest.
Who adopts the process of the soil solarization and why?
To answer this we need to ponder the reason why to prefer the soil solarization over the other methods of sterilizing and weeding.
Once the soil is layered, you can begin to cover it with a black tarp. Make sure the tarp is lying flat on the ground, and that there are no wrinkles in it. If there are any ripples or folds in the tarp, it will decrease the effectiveness of the solarization process.
Secondly we have to look into the type of gardeners doing it.
The soil solarization is both done by the farmers on a small scale and it is carried out on commercial scale as well.
Soil solarization is adopted on a commercial scale to get the following benefits.
- It reduces the labor cost. The frequent removal and laying back of the tarp is not the part of the practice so it is much more economical for the money making gardeners.
- The research has showed that the soil solarization has long run effects in controlling the hostile plants and in sanitization of the soil.
- It is quite cost-effective as it is cheaper than using chemicals and pesticides. It gives the horticultures less head ache in carrying out.
- It is a thermal sterilizing process so it does not have adverse effects on the environment. So it is adopted by many greens keepers who want to keep the environment green.
- It is easy to carry out. There is no hard and fast rule for its application so as is the case with pesticides. There is no hectic of mixing chemicals or to do something proportionally.
- It does not involve much hard work and labor.
- Its rate of killing the weeds and pests is much more than that of other procedures.
- It not only kill weeds but also the nematodes and pathogens causing diseases.
- It does not leave any toxic residue. So not only it is environmental friendly, it is also soil friendly.
- It reduces the soil fatigue.
Now the question arises that which type of the soil is considered to be ideal for soil solarization?
To answer this simple question we need to know which type of the soil has the greater capacity to hold the water for a longer time.
So as compared to the light soil the heavy soil is considered to be the best. The soil we call loam and clay are the best as their capability to hold onto the water is much greater than that of the light soil. The light soil acts as the sieve to the water which makes the process ineffective. The heavy soil is ideal for it. It can be loam or clay and sometimes it can be the mixture of both. The steam I required to kill the foes in the soil which needs water vaporization. This vaporization is best done with heavy and enriched soil.
Solarization is less effective on sandy soil as its capacity to clench the water is almost zero. The water seeps through such soil making it dry and ineffective for the solarization. The sandy soil drains much more easily. To enhance the solarization in sandy soil the repeated drenching of the area is required. If it is not watered regularly the solarization will not yield to maximum.
The process of steam and beads continue all the day long especially in the morning and at noon, so, the proper drenching is required on regular basis.
James, the D.I.Y Expert, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Colorado State University. Love writing blog posts and guides to help others learn how to garden!