University of Florida

Soil Solarization

Soil solarization is a technique that uses the sun's energy to battle pests and diseases in your soil. It's especially effective against nematodes, tiny worms that feed on the roots of plants.

In the summer, remove all the plants from the area. Break up the soil, add any desired amendments, and irrigate the area. Then cover it with sturdy, clear plastic film, securing the edges to hold in the heat.

Leave the plastic on the ground for about six to eight weeks. The heat held in by the plastic can reach temperatures as high as 130 degrees, baking the nematodes and vastly reducing their population. Solarization will also reduce weeds and diseases.

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