Monday, 17 May 2010

How to use Solarization to clear fallow land

Solarization is a non-chemical method of weed removal. Not only will it kill the weeds in your allotment, but it helps control diseases and pests as well. This is a very simple method that involves trapping the heat of the sun under a piece of plastic or a tarpaulin, thus allowing it to kill off unwanted weeds and pests.
Horticulturists at the University of California suggest solarizing your soil during the hottest month of the year. They also suggest using transparent plastic to cover the soil in order to allow more of the sun's rays to reach the soil. Soil solarization is also possible using a black tarpaulin, but it may take longer than it would with transparent material.
  1. Remove vegetation and debris from the area you want to cover. 
  2. Cut the weeds to a height of one half inch. You will want the tarpaulin to lay as snug to the ground as possible so remove or mow down anything in the soil that will cause the tarpaulin to bulge or be lifted.
  3. Water the area well.
  4. Lay the black tarpaulin over the weeds. 
  5. Pour a thick layer of soil around the edges of the tarpaulin to secure it. 
  6. If you live in an area where the winds may blow up, add some bricks, rocks or other heavy items around the perimeter of the tarpaulin to better anchor it.
  7. Allow the tarpaulin to stay on the area for 8 to 10 weeks. If the weather cools a bit, leave the tarpaulin on for an extra week.

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