Salt leaching techniques

  • To minimize salt buildup in the root zone, keep the wetted area at or near field capacity at all times.

  • For optimal salinity control, maintain a nearly continuous, slow downward movement of water and salts. This requires more water than is necessary to maintain field capacity.

  • Place drip laterals as close as possible to salt-sensitive plants, and continuously leach salts outward from the root zone.

  • Salt leaching is easier to do at the start of the season as you will have more water before the crop requirement increases.

  • If planting prior to sufficient rainfall, consider deliberate leaching. Apply 2/3 more than normal irrigation.

  • Do not move laterals after the water application has started on salt-sensitive crops.

  • You may need to run the system for salt-sensitive crops during light rain to prevent the rain from leaching salts into the root zone. This principal does not apply for heavy rain.

  • Take an alkali soil test before every crop cycle. Salinity hazards can build up over time. For soil samples, check at 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 in), depending on the crop.


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