Student Research Projects

Determining the Efficacy of Soil Solarization and Mustard Seed Meal Treatments for Soil-borne Pest Control in Virginia Annual Plasticulture Strawberry Production

Student Mikel Conway '14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences
Course BIO 489: Research in Natural Sciences


Under conventional farming systems, fumigants such a 1, 3-Dichloropropene and Chloropicrin are typically used by berry and vegetable growers to sterilize soil and control soil borne pests. Due to the damaging effects on the environment and human health, regulations are imposed, making fumigation a difficult practice. Comparison studies of weed seed solarization using plastic barriers are alternative options for fumigants used on strawberry crops. Studies using different plastic options combined with other less invasive pest controls are beneficial for growers, public education, scientific research and the environment. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of different non-chemical treatments on weed seed viability on four weed seed species commonly found in strawberry crop production. Species observed: Poa annua (annual bluegrass), Digitaria sanguinalis (hairy crabgrass), Stellaria media (common chickweed) and Lamium amplexicaule (henbit).