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Scott Mckay, Australia
Category - Soils
The salinity of soil refers to the amount of salts in the soil and it can be estimated by measuring the electrical conductivity (EC) of an extracted soil solution.
How does soil salinity affect plant growth?
Salinity can affect plant growth in several ways, directly and indirectly:
Direct soil salinity damages
Factors affecting soil salinity
Several factors affect the amount and composition of salts in soils:
Irrigation water quality - The total amount of dissolved salts in the irrigation water, and their composition, influence the soil salinity. Therefore, various parameters, such as source water EC and its minerals content should be tested.
Fertilizers applied - The type and amount of fertilizers applied to soil, affect its salinity. Some fertilizers contain high levels of potentially harmful salts, such as potassium chloride or ammonium sulphate. Overuse and misuse of fertilizers leads to salinity buildup, and should be avoided.
Irrigation regimen and type of irrigation system - The higher the water quantity applied, the closer soil salinity is to irrigation water salts concentration. When the soil dries, the concentration of salts in the soil solution is increased.
Field's characteristics and agricultural history - A poorly drained soil might reach salinity level that is harmful to the plants and to the whole crop. A soil that was not flushed after a previous growing cycle might contain high level of accumulated salts.
Read more about How to Prevent and Manage Soil Salinity
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