Started by cecilia, February 09, 2007, 05:04:25 PM
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QuoteUsing Solarization to Eliminate Existing Unwanted VegetationAs an alternative to tilling lawn-sized areas, you can use an approach known as "solarization." This works best during the growing season, either in the late summer months or early spring when you expect a string of sunny days. It involves covering the area to be re-seeded with clear plastic (6mil thickness is best, though 4mil will probably do for smaller areas) and letting the sun and natural processes of nature do the work for you. Dig a shallow trench around the site perimeter, approximately 4-6 inches deep. Water the site thoroughly and deeply first. Then fit the sheets of clear plastic over the site and tuck the edges of the plastic down into the trench. Refill the trench to make the edges of the plastic secure. On larger areas it may be necessary to use several sheets of plastic and secure the overlaps with rocks or some other weight to hold them in place. You want to make it as "airtight" as possible and secure it firmly enough so that it won't get blown loose by the wind. You have now created a well-watered greenhouse, so that when the sun penetrates the plastic it will warm the soil and provoke more growth, including increased activity of natural soil molds and bacteria. When the unwanted vegetation is trapped under the plastic in these intense growth conditions and has nowhere to go, it essentially becomes compost. The whole process takes about 3-4 weeks when nature cooperates by providing enough sunny days.Once the process is complete, you can rake off the debris and compost it further. If there is not too much debris, it can be tilled into the soil as part of your seedbed prep.