Solarization as a potential approach for recycling wastes of potting media and as an alternative to methyl bromide for field-grown bedding plants

Gladis M. Zinati, Herbert H. Bryan, Merlyn M. Codallo


A field experiment was conducted to evaluate solarization as a recycling method for spent potting media and as an alternative approach to methyl bromide for field-grown bedding plants in south Florida. Spent potting media was collected, spread on raised beds of gravelly calcareous soil, covered with clear polyethylene plastic sheet and solarized for 8 weeks. Other beds were left fallow for the same period and two weeks before transplanting the bedding plants to the field, spent media were spread on these fallow beds and were either treated with methyl bromide: chloropicrin (MB:CC) or were not fumigated. All beds were then covered with white on black polyethylene plastic mulch. Solarization plus humic acid amendment increased: 1) impatiens plant dry weights and were similar to those of MB:CC treatment, 2) petunias plant widths in contrast to those in non-fumigated plots as well as plant dry weights but were not significantly different from fumigated ones. However, solarization increased periwinkle plant height, width and dry weight on average by 15, 17, 41%, respectively, in comparison to those in non-fumigated treatment. Solarization and the addition of humic acid increased petunias plant width, and dry weight, dianthus plant height and width compared to those grown in non-fumigated plots with humic acid. Although solarization increased Mexican heather plant height, width and dry weight, solarization was not as effective as MB:CC. The addition of humic acid to plants in MB:CC plots increased significantly all these parameters. The results of this study show that solarization provides a successful avenue for recycling piles of spent potting media, and with addition of humic acid can be used as a potential non-chemical alternative to methyl bromide for growing field bedding plants in south Florida.


dianthus; horticultural parameters; impatiens; mexican heather; ornamentals; periwinkle; petunia; recycling; soil disinfection

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283

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