In Altdorf, close to Bonn Germany, the Service Center for Rural Areas (DLR) Rheinlandpfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) conducts another steaming trial. The regeneration of soil for tree and shrug cultures is in the focus. After the successful application of hot steam in growing vegetables in the last two years that reaped astonishing effects such as an increase of growth to up to 30% and the complete killing of weeds, the leading research institute is also convinced that steam can solve the most important issues in fruit and berry growing.

The problems which appear in such cultures are manifold. In particular harvests can be distroyed by soil fatigue and other soilborne pathogens such as nemathodes, fungi and bacteria which may cause the grower to close down.

Hence it is important that the soil is healthy and clean before planting. The use of pesticides becomes more and more problematic. Now steam shall be the alternative.

The DLR Rheinlandpfalz treated an area of altogether 200m² at the beginning of April 2011. The area was covered with heat resistant sheets. Through a special steam injector steam was induced underneath the sheets for 4 hours. During this time steam penetrated the soil down to 30-35 cm depth and heated it up to at least 85°C. Right after steaming new plants were planted on the area.

Sheet steaming in tree nurseries
Sheet steaming in tree nurseries

In the upcoming months positive effects are expected in particular such as plant growth and increase of harvest.

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