Project Plastic

The Deschutes Land Trust is working to restore native plant communities in the Hindman Springs portion of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. The first step to restoring native plants is soil solarization! Soil solarization is the process of using the sun's powerful energy to bake the soil under a layer of plastic to kill a pest or weed. In this case, the Land Trust is working to kill weeds and weed seeds that have been in the soil for 150 years!

Solarization, while labor intensive, is an effective way to kill weeds and suppress germination of weed seeds far longer than many herbicides. So, how does soil solarization work? First, we till the soil and remove any dead plants. After level and smoothing the soil surface we wet the soil and cover it with clear plastic securing the edges to create a greenhouse effect. This effect cooks the soil all spring and summer.

Our local deer are very good at puncturing holes in this plastic with their hooves. While a deer dance party on our plastic may seem harmless, these holes release the gasses we are trying to trap. In order to make this process the most effective we are looking for volunteers to help us tape holes in our plastic.

Volunteers will be equipped with the tape they need and are asked to visit the solarization project at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve on their own schedule to close any holes they find. 

Rating: Individualized volunteer opportunity that can be altered to meet the needs/abilities of the volunteer/group.

What to Bring:
 Work gloves (if you have them), sturdy hiking shoes, snacks/lunch, water. Dress for the weather.

Contact: Rebekah Ratcliff, to get involved!


Want to learn more about the solarization project? 

Read how it works here.