Effects of Solarization against Weeds and Root-knot Nematodes Limited by Weather

Robert McSorley, Harsimran K. Gill


Soil solarization is a useful nonchemical method for managing a variety of soilborne pest problems. However, it can be difficult for solarization to achieve long-term control of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), which are important pests of many landscape and commercial ornamentals grown in Florida. A field experiment with snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) was conducted in 2009 to determine if performance of solarization could be improved by extending duration of solarization from 6 to 8 weeks, or by combining solarization with other methods, such as incorporating cabbage amendment prior to solarization or by planting a root-knot nematode host such as squash (transplants or seeds) prior to solarization. Frequent cloud cover and low solar radiation during the soil solarization period resulted in relatively low soil temperatures and limited performance of solarization, with weed growth under the clear plastic. A solarization period of 8 weeks was more effective than 6 weeks in limiting (P < 0.001) the number of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) plants under the plastic during solarization and in reducing (P < 0.05) number of weed seedlings developing in the subsequent snapdragon crop. Solarization did not have much lasting impact on root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), although on one sampling date, root galling was slightly reduced compared to solarization alone when cabbage amendment was combined with solarization or when squash seeds were planted 2 weeks prior to solarization. These methods should be further evaluated under conditions more favorable for solarization.


Antirrhinum majus, cabbage amendment, Meloidogyne spp., methyl bromide alternatives, pest management, snapdragon, solarization duration, squash trap crop

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