Irrigating crops can often cause salts to build up in the soil profile. These accumulated salts can damage crops if they are not leached below the root zone. Leaching is one beneficial technique for removing salts, but only if the soil has adequate drainage.
During the growing season, leaching can be accomplished by applying extra water so that the amount exceeds the evapotranspiration requirement of the crop. Leaching can also be done by irrigating a field before planting a crop or by irrigating before permanent crops leaf out in the spring. Salts can also be leached after harvest or by winter rainfall if sufficient.
This publication provides an overview of the requirements for managing agricultural salts by leaching.
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