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Lec: 14

Salt affected soils

31 July 2017

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 1


Salt affected soils

Soils having
Higher soluble salts
High exchangeable sodium

Distribution - 7 million ha

Indo-gangetic alluvium
Arid tracts of Rajasthan and Gujrat
Arid and semi-arid tracts of southern states
Coastal alluvium

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 2


Salt affected soils
Types of salt affected soils
Type EC (dS m-1) ESP pH Physical condition
Saline > 4.0 < 15 < 8.5 Normal

Sodic < 4.0 > 15 > 8.5 Poor

Saline sodic > 4.0 < 15 variable Normal

Degraded > 4.0 < 15 < 8.5 Normal


alkali

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 3


Genesis of salt affected soils
Sun
evaporation

1. Low rainfall soil surface


2. High evaporation Salt
sedimentation
Capillary
3. Parent material rise
saturated zone
4. Poor drainage
5. Poor quality irrigation water
6. High water table ground water table

7. Sea water intrusion


8. Base forming fertilizers (NaNO3)

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 4


Saline soils

Soils containing higher amount of soluble salts


White alkali
Saline soils with white sedimentation at
surface
Brown alkali soils
Saline soils with high nitrate salts

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 5


Characteristics of saline soils
EC : > 4 dS m-1
Soil reaction (pH) : < 8.5
Surface soil : White encrustations/salt precipitation
Flocculation : Yes
Permeability problems : No
Physical condition : Good
Infiltration : Normal
Osmotic potential soil water : High

Soils remain moist longer than the rest of the field


Usually barren but potentially productive soils

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 6


Genesis of saline soils
1. Parent material
2. Arid and semi-arid environment
3. Low lying areas
4. Poor drainage
5. High water table
6. Use of salt water for irrigation
7. Capillary rise
8. Base forming fertilizers (NaNO3)
9. Sea water intrusion and ingress

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 7


Effects of soil salinity
Soil water
Dissolved salts
Higher osmotic potential
Plasmolysis (water moves from root cells to soils)
Roots needs excessive energy to absorb water
Reduced water uptake
Concurrently nutrient uptake will be reduced
Less microbial activity
Slow decomposition of organic matter
Slow nutrient availability (N & S)
Specific ion effects
Toxicity of chloride, sulphate

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 8


Reclamation of soil salinity
Removal of salt from rooting zone

Leaching with good quality water

Adequate drainage

Grow salt accumulating plants /crops

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 9


Reclamation of soil salinity
Leaching is defined as the process of transporting
soluble salts by downward movement of water in
the soil by the application water.

Leaching requirement (LR) is defined as that


fraction of water that must be leached through
the root zone to control salinity at specified level

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 10


Management of saline soils
Crop management
Growing salinity tolerant crops
Removal of salts by crops
No yield reduction
Tolerance to salinity Suitable crops
Highly tolerant Cotton, ragi, barley, sugar beat, beet root,
curry leaf, bermuda grass, spinach
Moderate tolerant Paddy, wheat, onion, maize, sunflower,
castor, grape, pomegranate, tomato, cabbage
and potato
Less tolerant Garden beans, Reddish, lime
Sensitive plants Black gram and green gram
Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 11
Management of saline soils
Soil and cultural management
Growing crops in raised beds

Plant/ sow on sloppy ridges


reduce salt accumulation in root zone

Mulching
Prevents evaporation
Reduce capillary rise

Provide drainage in water logged areas

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 12


Management of saline soils
Fertilizer Management

Addition of organic manures

Green manuring (sun hemp, Daincha , Kolingi)

and green leaf manuring

Add extra N (20 25% of rec. dose)

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 13


Management of saline soils
Irrigation management

Proportional mixing of good quality water

Alternate furrow irrigation

Use - drip and sprinkler irrigation system


Reduces saline water usage
Decrease salt addition to soil

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 14


Alkali soils

Soils with high levels of exchangeable sodium


and low levels of total soluble salts

Sodic soils
(Na rich)

black alkali soils


Na salts + humus - black surface

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 15


Characteristics of alkali soils
Chemical
Accumulation of ex. Na
ESP > 15 %
Higher pH
EC < 4 dS m-1
Salts: carbonates and bicarbonates of Na
Physical properties
Dispersion of soil aggregates
Plugging of soil pores
Poor internal drainage
Resulting in dry subsoil and wet surface soil
Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 16
Adverse effects of soil sodicity
Toxicity of Na, CO3-, HCO3- and OH- ions
Unavailability of Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn
Fixation of P (by Ca & Mg)
Low microbial activity
Low mineralization of N & S

Dispersion of clay
Poor infiltration & stagnation of water
Poor aeration
Soil become hard mass under dry conditions
Poor workability both under wet and dry seasons

Crops appear as patches in a field


Extreme conditions - no plants

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 17


Reclamation / management of sodic soils
Physical measures
Not remove sodium but improve physical condition

a. Deep ploughing
- break hard pan at subsurface
- improves free-movement water & aeration.

b. Providing drainage - improve aeration and remove salts

c. Sand mixing
- enhances infiltration
- reduces capillary movements of water

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 18


Reclamation / management of sodic soils
Chemical measures
Removes sodium from soil exchange complex
Application of
Gypsum Elemental sulphur
Calcium chloride Sulphuric acid
Calcium carbonates Iron sulphate
Phospho-gypsum

Na+ Ca+
Soil
Na+
+ CaSO4
Soil
Ca+
+ Na2SO4 (Leachable)

Na+ Ca+
Soil
Na+
+ CaCl2
Soil
Ca+
+ 2NaCl (Leachable)

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 19


Reclamation / management of sodic soils
Not remove sodium
Biological measures
Improve physical condition
Enhance solubilization of native calcium

2. Growing grasses
Cyanodon dactylon, Brachiaria mulica, Chlons gayana
3. Afforestation
Azadirachta indica, prosopis juliflora, Tamarind, Albizia
procera, Zizyphus sp., Acacia sp., Cassia sp.
4. Cultivate crops tolerant to high sodicity
Removes sodium through plant uptake (slow process, lesser
extent)
Addition of organic matter
o Improves soil physical condition
o pH decreased (owing to organic acids release)

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 20


Difference between saline and alkaline soil
Physical properties
Visual Saline soil Alkali soil
Observation
Stagnation of rain Lesser period Longer period
water
Stagnated water Clear Dark coloured &
type muddy
Surface salt colour White Dark brown or ash
Presence of Gypsum CaCO3 nodules
nodules

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 21


Difference between saline and alkaline soil
Chemical properties
Visual Saline soil Alkali soil
Observation
EC (dS/m) > 4.0 or more < 4.0
ESP < 15 15 or more
PHs < 8.5 8.5 or more
Chemistry of soil Dominated by chloride Carbonates and
solution and sulphate bicarbonates present
Effect on plants High osmotic pressure Alkalinity of soil
of soil solution solution
Geographical Arid and semi-arid Semi-arid and sub
distribution climates humid climates

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 22


Saline-Sodic Soils
Higher soluble salts : EC > 4 dS m-1
High exchangeable Na : ESP >15
pH : < 8.5
Structure : Flocculated

If leached : Strongly alkaline


Soluble salts leached ( EC value)

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 23


Degraded alkali soils
Conditions
Areas of excessive rainfall
Absence of Ca and Mg
Part of Ex. Na : Replaced by H2
Na+ H+
Soil
Na+
+ H2O Soil
Na+
+ NaOH

2NaOH + CO2 Na2CO3 + H2O


Hydrogen soil degrades further
Form silicic acid & sesquioxides
Resulting in
Surface soils : acidic pH
Sub-surface soils : pH > 8.5
Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 24
By
K. Manikandan
Assistant Professor

available @ https/sites.google.com/drkanimanikandan/

Department of Soils and Environment, AC & RI, Madurai 25