Top 3 Methods used in Soil Pest Management

Soil pest management is a preventive agricultural practice that involves biological, mechanical, chemical, and physical control methods to reduce the level of pests in the soil.

Although integrated soil pest management has different methods, we’re going to discuss the three most common ways shown below in this post.

  1. Biofumigation.
  2. Soil Solarization.
  3. Biosolarization.

Top 3 Methods used in Soil Pest Management

As can be seen from the definition above, soil pest management’s primary goal is to eliminate or reduce the population of pathogens in the soil. I know some of you may be asking what kind of pests exist on earth.

In this regard, here are some of the most common fungi and bacteria that live in the soil. Never mind their names.

  • Nematodes
  • Fusarium.
  • Phytophthora
  • pythium
  • Verticillium and Rhizoctonia

Although some pathogens may be useful in soil aeration, most of these organisms that inhabit the soil can cause considerable losses in crop production. Let us take a look at the above methods used to combat soil pathogens.

Biofumigation

Biofuigation is a soli management practice that involves applying a large amount of organic material to the soil. This technique requires the use of 5kg per meter square of organic matter.

This process aims to generate a gas that results from the decomposition of organic material to control soil pathogens. This natural material can be fresh manure from animals or crops that remains after harvest.

How does this work?

It is simple; the decomposition of the organic matter will release ammonia gas in animal manure. Remember, the fresher the slurry, the higher the emission of ammonia.

If you choose to use crop manure, then isothiocyanates molecules are released into the soil. On the other hand, if the organic matter is from the harvest remains of cruciferous vegetables, it will produce ammonia and phenols.

I hope you are not excited at the choice of big words; I can’t explain in everyday terms and believe that you get the idea.

Moving on, the fumigant activity resulting from the decomposition of this matter is usually selective.

Because the volume of the gases released in the biofumigation process necessary to eradicate the pathogens is approximately thirty times less than that required to affect pathogen-antagonistic fungi. 🙂

Soil Pest Management – Solarization

The solarization pest management technique is merely mulching the soil but in a specific way.

To use this method efficiently, a transparent plastic cover(paper bag) on top of the mulch during hot, humid conditions to help increase the soil’s temperature.

Solar radiation from the sun passes through the plastic cover and is converted into heat and transmitted to the soil.

The soil, however, does not emit back the radiation into the plastic sheet. Therefore higher temperatures are achieved.

Chemical, physical, and biological changes take place. Which, in turn, causes the reduction or disappearance of a large number of soil pathogens.

On the other hand, it is equally important to note that this technique’s success largely depended on radiation and temperature.

With this in mind, pathogens die in the soil rapidly at temperatures of 50ºC. The time necessary to cause these deaths depends on the species in question and the sensitivity/heat resistivity of the species.

Biosolarization

The last method used in soil pest management is Biosolarization, which combines the above two methods.

This combination achieves higher temperatures than those produced with classical solarization and accumulates a more considerable amount of gases under a single roof.

Tim Jumah
Tim is a practising farmer based in Trans-Nzoia. His love for technology in agriculture led to the establishment of this website.

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