Soil Solarization: An Organic Soil Treatment Method

Soil solarization is an organic soil treatment method that helps control pests residing in the soil. The health of the soil is a major concern in crop production. Farmers face huge problems resulting from the poor state of the soil, thus, this leads to reduced yield in crop production.

People find it difficult to distinguish between soil sterilization and soil solarization; the two are soil treatment methods.


What is soil solarization?

Soil solarization is the use of sunlight rays to control or eliminate pests: seed weeds, insect eggs, and larvae; residing in the soil. Soil sterilization is the application of heat to the soil to eliminate pest residing in the soil. The two are methods of soil treatment.

Soil solarization is the use of solar power to keep the soil free from contaminants. It is environmental compliance as it does not interfere with the healthy state of the environment; also, it is cheap and an organic way of soil treatment.

It involves the use of soil solarization film, usually a clear polyethylene sheet, to trap heat from the sun to kill weeds, pests and other threats in the soil. It is safe for use and a non-chemical soil treatment method. It is more effective in a sunny climate where there is abundant sunlight the soil solarization plastic or film can trap.

Materials needed for soil solarization are;

  • Soil solarization plastic or film (a plain polyethene sheet)
  • A pair of scissors
  • A line

With these materials available, we can proceed to the soil solarization technique; it is simple and does not require expertise. Follow up…


Firstly, you need to prepare your land, when I say prepare your land, you are to carry out a conventional land preparation method. This is the ideal method of land preparation; also, you need to get soil solarization plastic.

This is a plain polyethylene sheet; it comes in different color but a plain one is the best as it traps solar radiation and allows it penetrate into the soil. Do not use a black solarization plastic; it only absorbs solar radiation, thus, it is not good for soil solarization.


soil solarization plastics

Lay your soil solarization plastics on the soil and bury the edge of the plastic; you can make little trenches or channels around the field to pocket or bury the edges of the soil solarization plastics.

Burying the edges prevents airflow underneath the solarization plastic, thus, supporting the system. Also, in a case where two plastics meet; make a trench between them and bury both. 

Where two sheets meet.


To make the system firm, you can as well use stones to clip the edges.

Soil solarization takes about 8 weeks. During this period, the rays from the sun are trapped and allow to penetrate the plastic, thus, killing weed seeds and other forms of pests underneath the soil. You will see weeds growing underneath the plastic and falling off.

In case you observe cuts or any form of damages from vertebrate pests like rodents; seal off the portion immediately. Pull off the weeds outside and at the edges of the plastic.

After 8 weeks, you can now remove the soil solarization plastic and keep in the store. Your land is now fresh and free from any form of pest; you can plant your seeds and watch the crops grow gleefully without the menace of pests and weeds.

Soil solarization is one of the effective methods of soil treatment. It is an organic soil treatment method that is safe for the environment. This is indeed a wonderful innovation.

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