Soil salinity reduction

SALINITY

Water with higher than normal levels of SALT after treatment with a GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner, can be used for irrigation without harmful effects to plants. Our GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner in most cases will prevent leaf burn, reduce sodium and chloride build up in plant tissue and reduce sodium and chloride build up in soil. We have the soil tests to prove that this is indeed the case. Sodium, chloride and salinity build-up from using saline waters will not only stop happening, previous salt build-up will leach through and the soil will return to where it was before.

Salinity and Sodicity (too much sodium)

These are two often-related areas……but not necessarily. Salt is NOT neccesarily sodium chloride. That’s table-salt! Salts can be Calcium Carbonate, or Magnesium Sulfate, or umpteen other combinations as well as sodium chloride. High levels of SODIUM in soil (either naturally there, or from high-sodium and/or high SAR waters) will make a soil SODIC. And sodic soils have a horrible dispersive, hard-setting and easily-compacted structure.
Well-structured soils have plenty of exchangeable Calcium. Poorly structured, dispersive, “sodic” soils contain high levels of exchangeable Sodium where there should be Calcium. Calcium holds soil particles together, ensuring stability, root penetration, water infiltration and aeration. Sodium ions have only half the charge as Calcium ions, so therefore holds particles weakly….which means the bonds fall apart, leading to compaction, poor aeration, poor infiltration and root penetration. High levels of soil Magnesium have a similar effect on structure. The solution is: replacement of Calcium ions (commonly through gypsum), drainage (ripping) and leaching of Sodium ions. Additions and maintenance of soil Organic Carbon will also assist in rebuilding healthy soil structure. High levels of soil magnesium, often indicated through a low calcium to magnesium ratio, tend to have a similarly detrimental effect on soil structure.
So this is what happens when you water your soil with high-sodium waters. Treatment with GrowFlow Magnetic Water Conditioner reduces enormously the build-up of sodium in the soil, and will generally assist in leaching built-up soil sodium thus allowing you to keep using the treated water without detrimental results.

What happens when a soil becomes sodic (too much sodium)

Salinity

Now, SALINITY is a different matter. Saline waters DO often contain high levels of sodium, therefore all the above may well still apply. Your water test will show this. Salinity will show up in your water test as a high EC (Electrical Conductivity). Read the article How plants take up water, and note the point made about how it takes energy for the plant to take up water from the soil. When there is salt in the water (or in the soil-water, because of salty water and/or salty soils), it is extremely hard for a plant to take a drink. The plant uses it’s energy from evapotranspiration to draw water from the soil. But when there is SALT present, it becomes harder and harder. Water moves from the soil into plant tissues by OSMOSIS (definition: “Osmosis is the passage of water from a region of high water concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to a region of low water concentration”). Where there is salt in the soil and soil-water, the salt in the soil/water draws the water back to itself. Therefore the saltier the soil and soil-water, the less water is taken up by the plant. The plant is stunted. If it’s very salty, it may eventually die of thirst. The other important issue is this: When you apply saline water to the soil, much of this water evaporates. The water evaporates….the salt does not! Generally the more you use saline water, the high the concentration of salts you will create in the soil. So whilst a moderate salinity water may not show up immediate problems, it may well become a problem in the months and years ahead. GrowFlow magnetic conditioners (water magnets) are used to treat all but the worst of saline waters (we will always tell you if we can’t help you!), and have consistently shown positive results both in plant growth and in soil test results.
The same osmosis issue applies when saline waters are applied to plant foliage, especially on the more sensitive crops. The water evaporates, leaving minute crystals of salt on the leaves. These salts will then draw moisture out of the leaves into themselves, resulting in dead patches and spots on leaves…..or even dead leaves or dead plants. Again, our magnetic water conditioners (water magnets) will prevent this happening in all but the worst of waters.

Salt-tolerant versus salt-sensitive!