Ag News A blog by Dr. Kristi Sanchez and Special Guests

Soil Fumigation: Helping to Overcome Destructive Crop Pests

Destructive pests – such as nematodes, fungi, insects, weeds, and other pathogens – can be devastating to a crop. Many times, these pests are actually a non-native, invasive species that readily establish themselves throughout farms within California and other parts of the U.S. Did you know, on average, that California alone acquires 9 new invasive species per year? This equates to one new species every 40 days. These may be inclusive of exotic insects and non-indigenous plants that can rapidly spread across farms, causing significant economic and environmental problems for growers in the agricultural industry. The solution? Soil fumigation.

Soil fumigation allows you to stand your ground against these pests by helping to protect your fields and crops before it’s too late.

If you’re wondering how this whole soil fumigation process works, then look no further than below!

  • First, the fumigants are injected into the soil as liquids in order to control the harmful insects, nematodes, weeds, bacteria, fungi, and/or diseases that have invaded a field.
    • Properly applied soil fumigants are particularly effective at treating more than one soil-borne problem.
  • Soil fumigants are uniquely effective because once injected, they then volatize into a gaseous form and disperse through the soil air space, radiating out from the points of application.
  • The fumigation treatment significantly reduces the harmful pathogens and rebalances the native beneficial soil microbe population, which conditions the ground for planting.
  • Once the fumigant decomposes through a rapid process, the crop planting takes place within the newly treated soil.
    • As an added bonus, some fumigants – like Chloropicrin – actually biodegrade into plant nutrients that allow the crops to thrive even further.
    • Better yet, there is no uptake of fumigant into the plant root and no residue is left on the plant, which allows the crops to take in more water and nutrients, ultimately growing to full yield potential.
  • The end result is that growers are able to maximize field usage with shorter crop rotational intervals, obtain greater yields suitable for sale, and in general grow healthier plants.
A visual overview of how fumigation conditions the soil for planting and provides optimum plant health.

Soil is complex and creates a refuge for plant pests, which can make growing crops a difficult task. A primary solution to these plant pests is soil fumigation, which allows growers to combat these soil-borne problems and give the plants their best start possible. Soil fumigation provides benefits to both the consumer and the grower: consumers are able to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables of higher quality at a price they can afford, while growers are able to use shorter crop rotational intervals and improve their marketable yield from every acre of their farm. TriCal is a company that specializes in soil fumigation and one that is committed to promoting the most beneficial soil environment for growers in California and around the world.


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