Soil solarization has been shown to be effective for disinfecting small amounts of soil or substrate.
The soil or substrate can be solarized in bags, pots, plastic buckets… These containers are placed on a raised surface such as wooden pallets and covered with a transparent plastic “double tent”. Ground temperature must be closely monitored to ensure that temperatures are high enough to destroy all pests. For example, in hot regions such as California, the soil inside black plastic bags can reach more than 70°C during solarization. This value is equal to the suggested target temperatures for disinfecting soils with aerated steam.
At these temperatures, all soil pests can be killed in less than an hour. Placing containers on pallets allows containers to be placed on all sides.
Ground temperature can be monitored using simple ground thermometers inserted in the centre of the ground mass, or using thermocouples and a digital readout recorder.
Temperatures must be monitored in several places and the duration of solarization must be extended to increase the temperature at the coolest place to the desired level. As an indication, to completely eliminate parasites, maintain a temperature of 70°C or higher for 30 minutes, or 60°C for one hour.