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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 50

Developing Alternative Heat Treatments for Disinfestation of Soil and Planting Media

James J. Stapleton

pp: 561-563

A "double-tent"solarization (passive solar heating) technique was recently approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as a nematicidal treatment for container nursery soil. The treatment currently stipulates exposure of soil to a temperature of 70°C for 30 contiguous min, among other considerations. Due to the need for broad-spectrum pest control in container nursery settings, the technique also was tested to confirm its usefulness as an herbicidal treatment. Laboratory-derived thermal death dosages (temperature 5 time) for six weed species important in California [Portulaca oleracea (common purslane), Amaranthus albus (tumble pigweed), Sonchus oleraceus (annual sowthistle), Sisymbrium irio (London rocket), Solanum nigrum (black nightshade), and Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyardgrass)] were determined and used as guidelines for devising treatment periods. Two field experiments were conducted in 1999 and 2000 to confirm the laboratory thermal death data; no seed germination occurred in any of the solarized treatments, in accordance with the laboratory results. Germination data were confirmed by performing squash tests and/or tetrazolium assays on nongerminated seeds. The approved "double-tent" solarization technique can be useful to producers of containerized nursery plants.

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