Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 221–230 | Cite as

Greenhouse soil solarization: effect on weeds, nematodes and yield of tomato and melon

  • Vincenzo Candido
  • Trifone D’Addabbo
  • Martino Basile
  • Donato Castronuovo
  • Vito Miccolis
Original Article


Phase-out of methyl bromide and health concerns related to the use of pesticides are increasing the interest in alternative control strategies. Soil solarization is an effective, safe and cheap technique for the control of soil-borne pathogens and weeds. However, knowledge of the long-term effects of solarization, as well as of repeated solarization cycles, is scarce. Such knowledge should in particular help to minimize the number of solarization treatments. Therefore, we tested the residual effect of a single solarization treatment and the effects of two or three solarization cycles on root-knot nematodes, weeds and crop yield for three years on greenhouse-grown tomato and melon. Soil solarization was applied for either one, two or three consecutive years on a soil infested by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica and many annual and perennial weed species. An untreated soil was used as a control. At the end of each crop cycle yield parameters were recorded, weeds were identified and counted, and nematode infestation was evaluated. Our results show that a single solarization treatment significantly increased yields by +116%, and strongly reduced nematode infestation of −99% of infested plants and of −98% of the root gall index in the following melon crop. It also suppressed annual weed emergence three years later. Plant yields from two- and three-year solarized soil were always higher than nonsolarized control: +284% and +263%, respectively, for tomato, and +162% and +368%, respectively, for melon. Further, two- and three-year solarization treatments almost completely suppressed the infestation of the M. javanica nematode in tomato, and reduced the nematode effect in melon by −86% and −79%, respectively. Repeated solarization treatments also resulted in a high reduction of emergence of most weed species in all crop cycles. A single soil solarization treatment was shown to be effective for a long-term sustainable management of weeds, whereas the time-limited effectiveness against root-knot nematodes can be enhanced through two- or three-year repeated treatments.

solarization nematodes weeds yield tomato melon 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benlioglu S., Boz A., Yildiz G., Benlioglu K. (2005) Alternative soil solarization treatments for the control of soil-borne diseases and weeds of strawberry in the Western Anatolia of Turkey, J. Phytopathol. 153, 423–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Camprubí A., Estaun V., El Bakali M.A., Garcia-Figueres F., Calvet C. (2007) Alternative strawberry production using solarization, metham sodium and beneficial soil microbes as plant protection methods, Agron. Sustain. Dev. 27, 179–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Castronuovo D., Candido V., Margiotta S., Manera C., Miccolis V., Basile M., D’Addabbo T. (2005) Potential of a corn starch-based biodegradable plastic film for soil solarization, Acta Hort. (ISHS) 698, 201–206.Google Scholar
  4. Chellemi D.O., Mirusso J. (2006) Optimizing Soil Disinfestation Procedures for Fresh Market Tomato and Pepper Production, Plant Dis. 90, 668–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chellemi D.O., Olson S.M., Mitchell DJ., Secker I., McSorley R. (1997) Adaptation of soil solarization to the integrated management of soilborne pests of tomato under humid conditions, Phytopathology 87, 250–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. D’Addabbo T., Sasanelli N., Greco N., Stea V., Brandonisio A. (2005) Effect of water, soil temperatures and exposure times on the survival of the sugar beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, Phytopathology 4, 339–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Egley G.H. (1990) High-temperature effects on germination and survival of weed seeds in soil, Weed Sci. 38, 429–435.Google Scholar
  8. Evans K. (1991) Lethal temperatures for eggs of Globodera rostochiensis, determined by staining with New Blue R, Nematologica 37, 225–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Freeman S., Sztejnberg A., Shabi E., Katan J. (1990) Long-term effect of soil solarization for the control of Rosellinia necatrix in apple, Crop Prot. 9, 312–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greco N., D’Addabbo T., Sasanelli N., Senhorst J.W., Stea V., Brandonisio A. (1998) Effect of temperature and exposure times on the mortality of the carrot cyst nematode Heterodera carotae, Int. J. Pest Manage. 44, 99–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grinstein A., Hetzroni A. (1991) The technology of soil solarization, in: Katan J., DeVay J.E. (Eds.), Soil Solarization, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, pp. 159–170.Google Scholar
  12. Ioannou N. (2000) Soil solarization as a substitute for methyl bromide fumigation in greenhouse tomato production in Cyprus, Phytoparasitica 28, 248–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Katan J. (1999) The methyl bromide issue: problems and potential solutions, J. Plant Pathol. 81, 153–159.Google Scholar
  14. Katan J., Fishier G., Grinstein A. (1983) Short and long term effects of soil solarization and crop sequence on Fusarium wilt and yield of cotton in Israel, Phytopathology 73, 1215–1219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kolberg R.L., Wiles L.J. (2002) Effect of steam application on cropland weeds, Weed Technol. 16, 43–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Linke K.H. (1994) Effects of soil solarization on arable weeds under Mediterranean conditions: control, lack of response or stimulation, Crop Prot. 13, 115–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lopez-Escudero F.J., Blanco-Lopez M.A. (2001) Effect of a single or double soil solarization to control Verticillium wilt in established olive orchards in Spain, Plant Dis. 85, 489–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Luvisi A., Materazzi A., Triolo E. (2006) Steam and exothermic reactions as alternative techniques to control soil-borne diseases in basil, Agron. Sustain. Dev. 26, 201–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Minute A., Gilardi G., Gullino M.L., Garibaldi A. (2000) Combination of soil solarization and dazomet against soilborne pathogens of glasshouse-grown basil, tomato and lettuce, Acta Hort. (ISHS) 532, 165–170.Google Scholar
  20. Nico A.I., Jiménez-Díaz R.M., Castillo P. (2003) Solarization of soil in piles for the control of Meloidogyne incognita in olive nurseries in southern Spain, Plant Pathol. 52, 770–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Oka Y., Shapira N., Fine P. (2007) Control of root-knot nematodes in organic farming systems by organic amendments and soil solarization, Crop Prot. 26, 1556–1565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roe N., Ozores-Hampton M., Stansly P.A. (2004) Solarization effects on weed populations in warm climates, Acta Hort. (ISHS) 638, 197–200.Google Scholar
  23. Rubin B., Benjamin A. (1983) Solar heating of the soil: effect on weed control and on soil-incorporated herbicides, Weed Sci. 31, 819–825.Google Scholar
  24. Rubin B., Benjamin A. (1984) Solar heating of the soil: involvement of environmental factors in the weed control process, Weed Sci. 32, 138–142.Google Scholar
  25. Russo G., Candura A., Scarascia-Mugnozza G. (2005) Soil solarization with biodegradable plastic film: two years of experimental tests. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 691, 717–724.Google Scholar
  26. Ruiz T.S., Stapleton J.J., McKenry M.V. (2003) Lethal temperature-time dosages for Meloidogyne incognita, in: Proceedings of the 2003 Annual International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reductions, San Diego, CA, USA, November 3–6, 2003, pp. 137-1–137-2.Google Scholar
  27. Shlevin E., Saguy I.S., Mahrer Y., Katan J. (2003) Modeling the survival of two soilborne pathogens under dry structural solarization, Phytopathology 93, 1247–1257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stapleton J.J. (2000) Soil solarization in various agricultural production systems, Crop Prot. 19, 837–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stapleton J.J., DeVay J.E. (1995) Soil solarization: A natural mechanism of integrated pest management, in: Reuveni R. (Ed.), Novel Approaches to Integrated Pest Management, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, pp. 309–322.Google Scholar
  30. Stapleton J.J., DeVay J.E. (1984) Thermal components of soil solarization as related to changes in soil and root microflora and increased plant growth response, Phytopathology 74, 255–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stevens C., Khan V.A., Okoronkwo T., Tang A.Y, Wilson M.A., Lu J. (1990) Soil solarization and Dacthal: influence on weeds, growth, and root microflora of collards, Hort Science 25, 1260–1262.Google Scholar
  32. Taylor A.L., Sasser J.N. (1987) Biology, Identification and Control of Root-knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne species), North Caroline State University Graphics, Raleigh, North Caroline, USA.Google Scholar
  33. Tjamos E.C., Paplomatas E.J. (1988) Long-term effect of soil solarization in controlling Verticillium wilt of globe artichokes in Greece, Plant Pathol. 37, 507–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo Candido
    • 1
  • Trifone D’Addabbo
    • 2
  • Martino Basile
    • 2
  • Donato Castronuovo
    • 3
  • Vito Miccolis
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze dei Sistemi Colturali, Forestall e dell’AmbienteUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante - CNRBariItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento Tecnico-EconomicoUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly

Personalised recommendations