Tarping field for drying out purpose

Asked March 4, 2018, 2:37 PM EST

Hello, We're curious about uses tarps of heavy black plastic to try to dry out the soil a little in hopes of getting in a little earlier. Some of the area we've used for growing vegetables before but some will be pasture that we will need to get into for the first time. Just looking for any relevant resources/info. Thanks!

Columbia County Oregon agriculture

1 Response

The results will vary with the source of the moisture. For example, if it is a low spot where water naturally collects from uphill sites, the tarp would be less effective. If it is in an area with relatively decent drainage, a tarp will accelerate drying. Tarps do control weed germination and growth, another benefit. However, placing one over a pasture at this stage might not kill all the grass. Had it been installed last fall, the grass would be largely gone except some seeds and perhaps a few persistent quackgrass rhizomes. That said, the grass would be weakened and less likely to rebound quickly after tillage. You will find vole (field mice) will like the cover but will also be discouraged by tillage when the tarp is removed. If you want to visit directly, give me a call at 503 397-3462. Chip Bubl OSU Extension/Columbia county.