Solarization is one of the three weed control methods used in the Eco-Patch project.

Second Eco-Patch Weed Removal Method

The Eco-Patch project is experimenting with variations of two weed removal methods, sheet mulching and solarization.  Soil solarization is a nonchemical method for controlling soilborne pests and weeds using high temperatures produced by capturing radiant energy from the sun to “bake” the soil.

The Eco-Patch team will till the soil at a level of about 10 inches, removing the rocks that are in the way.  After smoothing the newly tilled soil, it will be saturated with water to about an 18-inch depth.

Next comes the clear plastic.  The area will be covered with a 2mm thick clear plastic, burying the edges so that the plastic stays tautly in place for about six weeks in the hot Augusts-September sun. The plastic can then be reused for additional solarization elsewhere on the site.

The impact of the solarization will be to control many important soilborne fungal and bacterial plant pathogens.   It can also reduce soil populations of many species of nematodes.  Finally, it will control many of the annual and perennial weeds present in California.

For more information check Soil Solarization for Gardens a& Landscapes

Steps for solarizing soil.  From UC ANR Publication 74145