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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Soil solarization

Soil solarization requires that the soil first be prepared for planting. First, cultivate the soil and smooth the surface, but do not pack it down. Next, wet it very well. After irrigating, immediately roll clear polyethylene plastic tarps one mil (0.001 inch [0.025 mm]) thick over the surface, smoothing out air pockets. Thicker tarps, 1.5 to 2 mils can be used in windy areas (avoid thicker 4 - 6 mils as they are more reflective and don't allow the soil to heat up as much). Bury the edges of the tarp with soil. Tarps should be left on the soil surface for 4 - 6 weeks during the hottest part of the year. Do not leave the tarp on for more than 6 - 7 weeks, as it will become brittle and difficult to remove.

Common weeds controlled and not controlled by soil solarization

Photo of laying a clear plastic tarp over soil

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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