Soil Solarization

Solarization is a method to inactivate soil pathogens and weed seeds through passive solar heating of field soil. The technique involves covering moist soil with clear plastic tarp during the warmest period of the year. Solar radiation penetrates the tarp and is absorbed by the soil. Longer wavelength radiation emitted from the soil cannot pass through the tarp and energy accumulates beneath the tarp, leading to soil heating and thermal inactivation of weed and pathogen propagules.

Our work involves modeling of this phenomenon in order to predict soil heating during solarization based on soil and tarp properties and weather conditions. Additionally, we explore strategies to increase soil heating during solarization that involve soil microbial activity.

Recent publications

Achmon Y, Fernández-Bayo JD, Hernandez K, McCurry DG, Harrold DR, Su J, Dahlquist-Willard RM, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS, Simmon CW. 2017. Weed seed inactivation in soil mesocosms via biosolarization with mature compost and tomato processing waste amendments Pest Management Science In press.

Oldfield TL, Achmon Y, Perano KM, Dahlquist-Willard RM, VanderGheynst JS, Stapleton JJ, Simmons CW, Holden NM. 2017. A life cycle assessment of biosolarization as a valorization pathway for tomato pomace utilization in California. Journal of Cleaner Production. 141: 146-156.

Achmon Y, Harrold DR, Claypool JT, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS, Simmons CW. 2016. Assessment of tomato and wine processing solid wastes as soil amendments for biosolarization. Waste Management 48:156-164.

Dahlquist-Willard RM, Marshall MN, Betts S, Tuell-Todd C, VanderGheynst J, Stapleton J. 2016. Development and validation of a Weibull-Arrhenius model to predict thermal inactivation of Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) seeds under fluctuating temperature regimens. Biosystems Engineering 151:350-360.

Simmons CW, Higgins B, Staley S, Joh LD, Simmons BA, Singer SW, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS. 2016. The role of organic matter amendment level on soil heating, organic acid accumulation, and development of bacterial communities in solarized soil. Applied Soil Ecology 106:37-46.

Simmons CW, Claypool JT, Marshall MN, Jabusch LK, Reddy AP, Simmons BA, Singer SW, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS. 2014. Characterization of bacterial communities in solarized soil amended with lignocellulosic organic matter. Applied Soil Ecology 73:97-104.

Marshall MN, Rumsey TR, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS. 2013. A Predictive Model for Soil Temperature During Solarization and Its Validation at Two California Field Sites. Transactions of the ASABE 56(1):117-133.

Simmons CW, Guo H, Claypool JT, Marshall MN, Perano KM, Stapleton JJ, VanderGheynst JS. 2013. Managing compost stability and amendment to soil to enhance soil heating during soil solarization. Waste Management 33(5):1090-1096.

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