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Soil Solarization

Nell Lancaster wrote:

>>	 In cooler places, the clear plastic is preferred because it gets
the soil much hotter (sun goes through clear plastic to soil, heat trapped by
plastic; black plastic absorbs sun's rays and transmits radiant heat to soil

I know that's how it's supposed to work, but in our experiments the soil under
black plastic definitely got hotter and stayed wetter than that under clear
plastic.  The most obvious difference was that the weed seeds sprouted under the
clear stuff but just cooked under the black.   As most native weeds have thorns,
it may simply be that they poked pinhole leaks in the plastic, letting the heat
and moisture escape.    I've also noticed that clear plastic degrades much
faster than black plastic, so it may simply have started to disintegrate before
the treatment was complete.  

Anyway, my advice to anyone  _ not  _ in southern New Mexico is to follow Nell's
procedure and use clear plastic.  

Sharon McAllister  (73372.1745@compuserve.com)
Southern New Mexico -- where TBs spend the summer under shadecloth

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