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Views & Reviews

Soil Solarisation- A Way to Control Pests and Weeds in the Soil

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By EMN Updated: Mar 29, 2022 9:48 pm
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Soil solarisation is an environmentally friendly method of using solar power to control pests such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, insect and weeds in the soil by mulching the soil and covering it with a transparent polyethylene cover, to trap solar energy.

Soil solarisation is the process of covering the ground with a transparent polyethylene cover, to trap solar energy. The sun heats the soil to temperatures that kill bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, mites, weeds, and weed seeds. The following steps should be followed to solarise the soil:

1. Clear the area of plants and debris.

2. Water the soil deeply until it is wet.

3. Cover the area with transparent plastic as white or black plastic does not allow enough heat to get to the soil.

4. Bury all the plastic edges with the soil to trap the heat in order to maintain the temperature and moisture inside the polythene mulch and also to prevent formation of air pockets between the soil and polythene sheet.

5. Leave the plastic in place for at least 4 weeks in the hottest part of the summer.

6. Remove the plastic and the bed is ready for sowing.

Soil solarisation is more effective in heavy soils as they can hold more water than light soils and also produce enough steam every day. Steam is needed to kill nematodes, weed seeds, and insect eggs in the soil.

In solarised soil, plants grow faster and produce both higher and better quality yields. This can be attributed to improved disease, weed control and increase in soluble nutrients. Thus, farmers should solarise the soil in order to reduce weeds and control soil borne diseases.

Dr T Esther Longkumer
CTO-Soil Science

KVK Phek, ICAR-NRC on Mithun
Porba

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By EMN Updated: Mar 29, 2022 9:48:03 pm