Definition - What does Soil Solarization mean?
Soil solarization is the act of using the solar energy of the sun as an environmentally friendly way to kill weeds and control soil-borne pathogens such as fungi, nematodes, insects, or bacteria.
Soil solarization can be done by anchoring a tarp or piece of plastic to the ground and allowing the sun to heat it to temperatures that kill pests or weeds. As such, this method of natural weed control is intended to prepare the soil for the next planting season, rather than be used during a growing season.
MaximumYield explains Soil Solarization
Soil solarization uses the sun's radiant heat as it is absorbed and amplified by the plastic covering. The soil beneath the solarization tarp can reach 140 degrees or more and kills roots 6-10 inches deep. In this way, the soil is basically smoothered, which also helps to kill everything beneath it.
EPDM or roofing rubber is also excellent for solarization, especially to control hard to kill weeds like quack grass or burdock. The black rubber can heat to more than 300 degrees on a sunny day, making it difficult for any plant or pest to survive.
There is no rule of thumb for the length of time soil solarization takes, but normally it can take several weeks. For weeds with deep tap roots, the period of time may be considerably longer.
Soil solarization is extremely effective and is a popular method used in organic gardening because it doesn’t require any chemical pesticides. However, it does require patience, planning, and foresight.