Soil salinity is an important stressor affecting irrigated crops in many areas of California; and is often exacerbated during drought.
Over time, salts can accumulate in soil as crops extract water, leaving salts behind in the root zone. Without sufficient leaching, salts will accumulate, eventually reaching a level that will damage crops. Even if your irrigation water is low in salinity, salts will eventually build up in the soil to damaging levels without sufficient leaching from rainfall or excess irrigation water.
Under drought conditions, high-quality surface water supplies may not be available in sufficient quantities to meet crop needs and may be supplemented or completely replaced with poorer-quality ground or surface water. And a deficit irrigation strategy combined with poor quality water will exaggerate a salinity problem.
In this publication you’ll find a clear explanation of salinity and how crops both respond and tolerate it. You’ll also learn basic steps for monitoring and management. Included is an extensive table of salt tolerance ratings for various California crops.
This is a free publication that you can download.
Part of a series of Drought Tips written and produced by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources under an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources.
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