University of California

Solarization and biofumigation help disinfest soil


James J. Stapleton
Clyde L. Elmore
James E. DeVay

Authors Affiliations

J.J. Stapleton is Integrated Pest Management Plant Pathologist, Statewide IPM Project, UC Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier; C.L. Elmore is Extension Agronomist, Weed Science Program, Department of Vegetable Crops, UC Davis; J.E. DeVay is Professor Emeritus, Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis, Partial support for these studies was provided by the UC Statewide IPM Project and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 54(6):42-45. DOI:10.3733/ca.v054n06p42. November 2000.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


Preplant soil fumigation with methyl bromide is scheduled to be phased out by 2005. Chemical and nonchemical alternatives are being researched and identified. Soil solarization and/or biofumigation can help fill the gap in certain cases. These alternative methods of soil disinfestation are also of value to organic growers, home gardeners and others who will not or cannot use the soil fumigation chemicals employed by many conventional commercial growers.


Chen Y, Gamliel A, Stapleton JJ, Aviad T., Katan J, DeVay JE. Chemical, physical and microbial changes related to plant growth in disinfested soils. Soil Solarization. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press 1991. pp.103-29.

DeVay JE, Stapleton JJ, Elmore CL. Soil Solarization. Plant Production and Protection Paper 109. Rome: FAO/UN 1991. p.396.

Elmore CL, Roncaroni JA, Giraud DD. Perennial weeds respond to control by soil solarization. Cal Ag. 1993. 47(1):19-22.

Elmore CL, Stapleton JJ, Bell CE, DeVay JE. Soil solarization: A nonpesticidal method for controlling diseases, nematodes and weeds. UC DANR Pub. 21377. 1997. Oakland, CA: p.14.

Gamliel A, Stapleton JJ. Characterization of antifungal volatile compounds evolved from solarized soil amended with cabbage residues. Phytopathology 1993a. 83:pp.899-905.

Gamliel A, Stapleton JJ. Effect of soil amendment with chicken compost or ammonium phosphate and solarization on pathogen control, rhizosphere microorganisms and lettuce growth. Plant Disease 1993b. 77:pp.886-91.

Katan J., Chet I. Soil solarization. Innovative Approaches to Plant Disease Control. John Wiley & Sons 1987. New York: pp.77-105.

Ramirez-Villapudua J, Munnecke DM. Control of cabbage yellows (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans) by solar heating of fields amended with dry cabbage residues. Plant Disease 1987. 71:pp.217-21.

Stapleton JJ. Solarization: An implementable alternative for soil disinfestation. In: Biological and Cultural Control of Plant Diseases. St. Paul, MN 1997. 12:APS Press. pp.1-6.

Stapleton JJ., Stapleton JJ, DeVay JE, Elmore CL. Modes of action of solarization and biofumigation. In: 1998. Soil Solarization and Integrated Management of Soilborne Pests. Plant Production and Protection Paper 147. FAO/UN 1998. Rome: pp.78-88.

Stapleton JJ. Soil solarization in various agricultural production systems. Crop Protection. 2000. 19:837-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0261-2194(00)00111-3

Stapleton JJ., Maloy OC, Murray TD. (In press.) Soil fumigants. Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology. John Wiley & Sons New York:

Stapleton JJ, McKenry MV, Ferguson L. Methyl bromide alternatives: CDFA approves a solarization technique to ensure against nematode pest infestation of containerized nursery stock. UC Plant Protection Quarterly 1999. 9p.14. www.uckac.edu/ucppq .

Subbarao KV, Hubbard JC, Koike ST. Evaluation of broccoli residue incorporation into field soil for Verticillium wilt control in cauliflower. Phytopathology. 1999. 88:1046-55.

[USDA] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Economic implications of the methyl bromide phaseout. Agriculture Information Bulletin #756 2000.

Stapleton J, Elmore C, DeVay J. 2000. Solarization and biofumigation help disinfest soil. Hilgardia 54(6):42-45. DOI:10.3733/ca.v054n06p42
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu