How Soil Solarization Works

Students learn how the process of soil solarization is used to pasteurize agricultural fields before planting crops. Soil solarization is a pest control technique in agriculture that uses the sun’s radiation to heat the soil and eliminate unwanted pests that could harm the crops. The approach is compared to other pest control methods such as fumigation and herbicide application, highlighting the respective benefits and drawbacks. In preparation for the associated hands-on activity on soil biosolarization, students learn how changing the variables involved in the solarizing process (such as the tarp material, soil water content and addition of organic matter) impacts the technique’s effectiveness. A PowerPoint® presentation and pre/post-quiz is provided.