Tarping in the Northeast: A Guide for Small Farms

Tarping in the Northeast

Description: Reusable tarps, including black plastic (silage tarps), clear plastic, and landscape fabric, are multi-functional, accessible tools that are increasingly popular on small farms. The use of opaque materials that block light is frequently called “occultation” while the use of clear tarps is called “solarization.” We treat “tarping” as a general term to include both. Regardless of the material used, tarps are applied to the soil surface between crops and then removed prior to planting.


  • Natalie Lounsbury, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of New Hampshire Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Sonja Birthisel, Faculty Associate, University of Maine School of Forest Resources and Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program
  • Jason Lilley, Sustainable Agriculture Professional, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
  • Ryan Maher, Research and Extension Specialist, Cornell Small Farms Program, Cornell University

Publication date: February 2022

Online publication link: Tarping in the Northeast: A Guide for Small Farms