www.VIRAGROW.com 

www.VIRAGROW.com
 Robert Morris
 Consultant for Viragrow, Inc.
 Table salt - Sodium chloride
 Table salt - Sodium chloride
 Epsom salts - Magnesium sulfate
 Fertilizers
 Saltpeter - Potassium nitrate
 De-icing salts - Sodium or potassium
chloride
 Water softening salts – Sodium or
potassium chloride
 Salt scrubs - Sea salt
Soil
Soil amendments
Fertilizers
Irrigation water
Fertilizer
Fertilizer Grade
SI
Urea
46-0-0
74.4
Ammonium sulfate
21-0-0
88.3
Calcium nitrate
15.5-0-0
65.0
Diammonium phosphate
18-46-0
29.2
Triple superphosphate
0-46-0
10.1
Potassium chloride
0-0-60
116.2
Potassium sulfate
0-0-50
42.6
Gypsum
0-0-0
8.1
Manure, 20% N
0-0-0
112.7
Source: A and L Labs, Great Lakes
Solid table salt or sodium chloride
Sodium ion
Sodium
Dissolved table salt
Chloride
Chloride ion
Water in the lower Colorado River
carries 1 ton (2000 lbs) of salts for
every 320,000 gallons.
Irrigating a 1000 square-foot tall
fescue lawn in Las Vegas with
Colorado River water applies about
600 to 700 pounds of salt to a lawn
every year.
Salt
1.
Sample is taken from the field
2.
Water from the soil is extracted
from the soil sample
3.
EC meter is adjusted against a
standard
4.
EC meter measures the soil
water. If the salinity is too high to
be read by the meter, the
sample is diluted with distilled
water in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio.
5.
Readings are adjusted to the
dilution ratio
Salinity standard
EC or salinity meter
Measurements of salinity may be in units commonly used by engineers (ppm), soil
scientists (dSm/m) or horticulturists (mmhos/cm)
Basic conversions are: 640 ppm = 1.0 mmhos/cm = 1.0 dS/m
Salts containing sodium (Na) , chlorides (Cl), boron (B) and sulfates (SO4)can be
troubling even before they get to concentrations that compete with the plant for
water. For interior plants, fluorides (F) can be a problem. In irrigation water,
bicarbonates (HCO3) can be a particular problem.
Bad Guy Salts for Plants
 Sodium
 Chlorides
 Boron
 Flourides
Bad Guy Salts for Steel and Concrete
 Sulfates
 Chlorides
 Bicarbonates
Direct Damage
• Indirect Damage
•
Wilting or leaf drop
Plant quality gets worse
Plant growth decreases
Early Signs
Temporary wilting midday
Intermediate Signs
Leaf yellowing (chlorosis)
Leaf scorching or marginal/tip burn
Intermediate Signs
Leaf yellowing (chlorosis)
Leaf scorching or marginal/tip burn
Long Term Signs
 Leaf drop
 Stunting or
reduced vigor
 Decrease in photosynthesis and
energy production
 Decreased tolerance to high and
low temperatures
Lack of water
Yellowing or chlorosis from fertilizer deficiency
Stem, trunk or root damage
 Insect damage to the main trunk, stem or roots that stops
water movement
 Diseases that stop water movement such as Phytophthora
collar rot or Verticillium wilt
 Mechanical damage to the trunk from mowers or line
trimmers
 Nematode damage to roots
 Eliminate other possible problems.
 Test the soil or water for salts.
 Where is the salt coming from?
Soil? Irrigation water? Fertilizer? Soil amendment?
Soil Problem
 Improve drainage
 Add organic soil amendments such as compost
 Flush out salts with good irrigation water (Leach, leach,
leach)
 Use soil wetting agents
 Use salt resistant plants
 Use fertilizers with a lower salt index
Irrigation Problem
 Blend irrigation water with better quality water or find
a new source
 Switch from overhead to drip irrigation
 Improve irrigation uniformity
 Increase the amount of water applied
 Increase the frequency of irrigations, use multiple start
times
 Water before the heat of the day
 Use salt resistant plants
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