What a saline soil is?
A saline soil from the agricultural standpoint, is one that has a higher amount of salts than the plant can tolerate. All soils contain soluble salts, however, some soils may have an excess of salts for different reasons:
- Meteorization of minerals and rocks of the earth’s crust
- Continuous irrigation with high salinity waters
- Soils without adequate drainage
- High water tables
- Indiscriminate application of certain fertilizing products
How does salt affect the crop?
Main salts present in the soil are sulphates and chlorides. They are salts of high solubility that produce, with the irrigation and the rains, very saline solutions that affect the culture in two ways:
- Dehydration of plants: The primary effect of excess salinity is that it renders less water available to plants although some is still present in the root zone, because the osmotic pressure of the soil solution increases as the salt concentration increases.
- Degradation of the soil structure: Salts tend to disintegrate weathering the different soil layers, what worsens their ability to be cultivated. Salts also contribute to sodification of the clays, to degradation of the surface structure and to the tendency to sealing and crusting. In addition, they cause nutritional problems since the macro and microelements are strongly fixed in the soil and not available to plants.