Soil Solarization: What It Can and Can’t Do

    Listen 53:45

    Soil solarization is a powerful tool in the organic arsenal—but can you solarize a bed that has a tree in the middle?! On the latest You Bet Your Garden, Mike McGrath discusses how you can—and can’t—use the rays of the sun to wipe out wicked weeds and defeat dread disease. Plus, your fabulous phone calls!

    Question of the Week:

    I recently bought a home where the landscape has been neglected for decades and have a question about solarizing a flower bed with a tree in the center. The tree is about the diameter of the circle you make when you touch your fingertip and thumb together. It’s surrounded by very thick ground cover and poison ivy. I thought that if I tilled the area, removed the green and brown matter, soaked it with the 100% water saturation you recommend in your article on soil solarization, and covered it with the recommended clear plastic one to three mils thick, I’d be able to start fresh. But to do that I’d have to surround the tree with the plastic and I’m afraid that might cook the roots. I love the tree and don’t want to hurt it. Any advice?
    —Milan in Lemont, Illinois

    The dos and don’ts, cans and can’ts of solarization »

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal