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Title:Soil solarization weed control in specialty crops
Author(s):Frillman, Nicholas J
Advisor(s):Branham, Bruce E.
Contributor(s):Tranel, Patrick; Mulvaney, Richard
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
weed control
Abstract:Soil solarization (SS) is a broad-spectrum soil disinfestation technique for the control of crop diseases, nematodes and weeds. Target soils are tilled, irrigated to field capacity, covered, and sealed with transparent polyethylene (PE) plastic mulch during the hottest part of the year for a period of 4-6 weeks. Applied water in soil micropores is heated by high ambient temperatures and solar radiation, creating a “greenhouse effect” under plastic, resulting in temperatures lethal to dormant seeds of many weed species. Recent increases in demand for organic farm products dictates a need for effective, non-chemical weed control strategies, such as SS. Adoption of solarization in the US has been sporadic, though several studies have been conducted on its weed-control potential. Results suggest that conditions for successful weed control via SS may be met in the Midwest. However, SS has not been thoroughly evaluated as an integrated weed management tactic in the Midwest, so its feasibility in the region is unknown. In 2018 and 2019, we evaluated the effectiveness of one month of SS as a weed-control technique for fall-season vegetable production, as well as significantly shorter SS periods and effects of a biochar amendment prior to plastic coverage. We also defined parameters for determining successful days of SS. One month of SS with two different single-layer clear PE plastics reduced estimated weed coverage and number of weeds m-2 by 95% and 75%, respectively. Subsequently, we observed no significant difference in weed control by SS with 66-74% shorter SS application times. Where applied, biochar amendments significantly reduced weed biomass. Results suggest that SS with clear PE plastic is an excellent weed control strategy that is well suited to Midwest fall vegetable production.
Issue Date:2019-12-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2019, Nicholas J Frillman
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-03-02
Date Deposited:2019-12

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