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Old 06-27-2009, 10:41 AM   #1
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Default 98 F and getting hotter: time for soil solarization

Its getting hot. Its a perfect time to attack some weedy spots on your place and get them ready for fall planting. This article from UC Davis explains how to do it.

http://ceamador.ucdavis.edu/files/942.pdf

Does solarization kill beneficial insects? Not necessarily. If that is a concern you can shorten the solarization time. Don't forget to water first! All you need is some transparent plastic sheeting.

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Does soil solarization kill beneficial soil organisms?

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Populations of some beneficial organisms, such as
Trichoderma spp. or actinomycetes, may be increased by solarization. Other important soilborne organisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, may be decreased in the upper soil profile but not enough to lessen their beneficial action. Populations of some microorganisms, such as beneficial bacteria (Bacillus and Pseudomonas spp.) are partially decreased during solarization but afterwards recolonize the soil rapidly. However, populations of Rhizobium spp. of bacteria, which fix nitrogen in root nodules, are killed and must be reintroduced with seeds of legume crops. Survival and activation of beneficial organisms appear to play an important role in the increased plant growth commonly observed in solarized soils.
The use of soil solarization in environmental restoration projects.

Environmental Restoration: Soil Solarization

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Old 06-27-2009, 12:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for this reminder-- I wouldn't have thought of this until too late otherwise. Now I wish I would have cleared my front bed when it was cooler though.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:16 PM   #3
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I'm not sure I'm "buying" all that rapid recovery stuff. But if you used Bokashi whether you make you own or go commercial that should take care of the problem very quickly with a balanced colony of beneficial microorganism.
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:17 PM   #4
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My problem is weeds - invasive weeds. I am going to try just stomping on them and maybe shovel chopping with a sharp shovel blade and then apply the plastic. Most recommendations are to till first. They must be kidding. This stuff is knee deep. I hope it works. Ive done it before, but it the area didn't stay cleared. But then it wasn't as hot then as it is now.
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Old 06-27-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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Hmm. We might have enough heat to kill ivy here. And vinca.

Though we're having a cold front tonight and so it may not be over 95 for two or three days in a row!

I may complain, but I love it...
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Old 06-27-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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My poor wabbit does not like it. He spends his days nestled between 2 frozen 2L bottles. I wish they made MY size!
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:29 PM   #7
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I know what you mean. Fortunately, Fort Chicken is up against the well house and in the shade, so the baby chicks have been okay.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:56 AM   #8
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We had rain yesterday after days of heat and dry weather. Im off today to find enough plastic to put down a double layer before the ground dries out again. One requirement of solarization is to apply the plastic AFTER the ground has been thoroughly watered.

I have tufts of autumn clematis and lots of snakey wisteria in this area that I plan to solarize. I sure hope it works! The wisteria spreads by underground runners and has taken over most of the property.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:16 AM   #9
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That is a very good tip to wait for rain to put plastic down.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:38 AM   #10
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Did I miss something in that article? I didn't see it say that it kills weeds, only seeds and seedlings, pathogens and organisms. So if you have wisteria, I seriously doubt this will get rid of it. I've tried for years to be rid of one wisteria plant and it continues to come back year after year.
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