Soil solarization is a broad-spectrum control method, simple, economically feasible and environmentally friendly.
It is an effective method for the control of many weeds.
It does not affect soil properties and usually produces higher yields.
There are also some disadvantages in its implementation. For example, previous irrigation is a requirement, (or frequent and abundant rain) and the soil must be kept solarized (non-producing) for a period of at least one month.
Results are often variable, depending on weather conditions. Cold (high latitude) or cloudy places are usually not suitable for implementing solarization.
Some species can tolerate solarization (e.g. deep rooted perennials: Sorghum halepense, Cyperus rotundus, Equisetum spp. and also some big weed seeds such as legumes).
The soil must be clean, surface-levelled and wet, previously to being covered with a thin (0,1-0,2 mm) transparent plastic sheet and very well sealed.
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The soil must be kept covered during the warmer and sunnier months (30-45 days).
Soil temperatures must reach above 40° C to exert a good effect on weed seeds.
After solarization the plastic must be recovered, and the use of deep or mouldboard tillage must be avoided.
This system is more suitable for small areas of vegetables, but it has been mechanized for extensive areas of tomatoes.
Soil solarization is widely used under plastic greenhouse conditions