Why is soil salinization a problem?

Why is soil salinization a problem?

Published Aug 21, 2019 

What’s Soil Salinization

Soil salinization is one of the most vital soil problems for agricultural production. Salinization refers to the salt content of the level affecting agricultural and environmental health.

Soil salinization usually occurs in arid areas, In these areas, soluble salt ions accumulate in the soil. In these areas where plant growth requires irrigation, the Evaporation and transpiration process leaves salt in the soil.

In the beginning, the salt will reduce soil productivity and limit crop yields. As the salt content increases, it kills the vegetation and soil microorganism. As a result, The perfectly fertile soil will become completely barren.

Why Does Soil Salinization Occur

Several factors contribute to an increase in the amount of salt in the soil:

Irrigation Water Quality & Volume

The total amount of dissolved salt in irrigated water and its composition affects soil salt content.

The more water you irrigate, the salinity of the soil will be close to the salt concentration of the irrigation water. When the soil is dry, the concentration of salt in the soil will be increased.

In addition, the poor soil drainage leads to low permeability, the salt will accumulate on the soil surface.

Fertilizer Composition

Some fertilizers contain high contents of potentially harmful salts, such as potassium chloride or ammonium sulfate. Overuse and abuse of fertilizer lead to increasing salinity in the soil.

High Evaporation & Transpiration

In arid areas(High evaporation and transpiration), Plant high water-consuming crops that plants absorb groundwater from the roots through capillary action, leaving salt accumulation.

How Does Salinization Affect Soil & Plants

The impacts of salinity include low agricultural productivity, low economic return, and soil erosion.

For Soil

In saline soils, sodium replaces calcium and magnesium, so the aggregation of soil particles is reduced, and the soil will tend to disperse. When soil gets wet, it’s water infiltration capacity reduces as well. When dry, sodic soil becomes hard has the tendency to crack.

For Plants

Salinity affects almost all processes of plants’ growth.

1.Osmotic Stress

This is the principal cause of reduced plant growth and yield as salinity mounts. Water moves into plant roots by this process, which is controlled by the level of salts in the soil water.

High salt concentration results in high osmotic potential of the soil solution, so the plant has to use more energy to absorb water. Under extreme salinity conditions, plants may be unable to absorb water and will wilt, even when the surrounding soil is saturated.

2.Specific Ion Toxicity

Some ions (particularly chloride) are toxic to plants and as the concentration of these ions increases, the plant is poisoned and dies.

The immune resistance of the plant becomes low, stunted growth, leaf burn, and necrosis become obvious as the level of salinity increases.

How can we prevent soil salinization?

1.Control irrigation water volume

Apply minimal levels of irrigation water volume and keep the well-drained soil condition.

2.Grow Salt Tolerant Crops

This is one of the best ways to deal with a soil salinity problem, especially if you are just starting out. Plant salt-tolerant cash crops such as barley, sunflowers, or canola. Not only are they equipped to deal with the salt, but also drought tolerant.

3.Flush Soil

Flushing the soil is the process of using a low-salt water to irrigate the area and wash the salt below the root zone.

4. Use Bio-Fertilizers containing Trichoderma

Trichoderma keeps the soil environment rich in most kinds of nutrients via nitrogen fixation, the release of plant growth regulating substances and biodegradation of organic matter in the soil, etc. In addition, Trichoderma has super adaptability in saline-alkali soil and reproduce rapidly. It’s an important method to reduce the salt content in the soil. And environment-friendly.

For many soil conditions, multiples solutions of a combination of them will be the better choice.

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