About Soil Salinity

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 High salt concentrations in the soil prevent the uptake of water and essential nutrients by plant roots. This, in turn, restricts plant growth and reduces crop yields. In Alberta, salts occur naturally in many bedrock deposits and in some deposits that lie on top of the bedrock. Groundwater flowing through these deposits dissolves and transports the salts. Under certain conditions, groundwater rises to the soil surface where the water evaporates, leaving the salts behind.

Over time, the salts accumulate on the soil surface. A white salt crust forms where the salt concentration is very high. Only salt-tolerant plants grow in this visibly saline area. The land around the visibly saline area will also have saline subsoil, resulting in reduced crop yields.

Various measures can be used to prevent, control and reduce the flow of groundwater that leads to dryland saline seep formation.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Karen Raven.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on February 12, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 4, 2017.