In Mid April I started a Solarization experiment where I use solar heating to kill off everything in the soil of my back yard. So far the results have been mixed.
The weather in Rio Rancho has cycled between days of heat and days of cool with rain. The cool days help to create a greenhouse effect under the plastic that cause plants to grow and the days of heat have killed them off. This is good since it’s easier to kill plants than seeds. Hopefully everything that can sprout has sprouted and died.
Since we haven’t had enough days of heat in a row, I don’t think the ground has really baked deep into the soil. It doesn’t appear it has baked the surface enough to decompose organic matter there.
The cycle of rain and heat appear to be over and we are now we are just getting heat. Parts of dead vegetation with sharp edges along with the prolonged time in the heat has caused some of the plastic to break down and break apart. Of the two sheets I put down one has almost completely broken down. The other sheet of plastic is partly shaded and has held together, it is currently experiencing a greenhouse effect with some plants growing underneath.
All the early summer rain has caused a large amount of goat heads plants (Tribulus terrestris) to sprout outside of the solarization area. I did my best to pick the plants but I had to violate my rule of not using chemicals and apply Roundup to a most of the back yard. My concern with using Roundup is the potential of creating weeds that are resistant to Roundup. Also, Roundup is turning out to be toxic.
This will be one of the few times I used chemicals to control weeds. Depending on how much time I have for the rest of this summer, I will try to apply more plastic to the backyard to take advantage of the late summer heat.