Almond Update: New Guide Simplifies Mitigation Strategies for Salinity Issues

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Growers dealing with salinity issues in their orchards have a new resource to help better understand the problem. The new Salinity Management Guide for Almond Growers has been developed by the Almond Board of California in cooperation with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. “It provides you an overview of what the different types of salts are and what kind of impacts they have on almonds,” said Mae Culumber, UC Tree Nuts Crop Advisor and author of the guide.

Salinity Issues

The guide explains the two types of salt stress that almond trees can experience. Osmotic stress makes water and nutrient uptake harder due to an accumulation of salts. Specific ion toxicity then occurs when the accumulation of salt gets to a point where the tree “can no longer exclude salts from its tissues and it begins to take up those salts into its roots and accumulate them in the xylem,” Culumber explained. Necrotic leaves can appear, reducing photosynthetic activity which can lead to inadequate shoot growth and reduced kernel size over time.

There are several approaches growers can take for addressing salinity issues. Culumber emphasizes understanding the type of problem you are dealing with. Regular sampling is recommended to get a baseline of what types of salts the trees are exposed to.

“For the soil, we want to sample with depth in one-foot increments,” Culumber noted. “Then we also want to sample in the top zero to three inches in a separate sample. The reason being is that that will help us decide whether or not we’re going to use water-applied, or soil-applied amendments.”

The guide breaks down individual steps to take dependent on the samples taken. There are calculation formulas and examples as to what types of amendments might be best based on orchard conditions. “We tried to make a complicated subject of calculating these amendments and distill that into something that everyone can do based on looking at their soil and water analyses,” said Culumber.

The Almond Board has made the Salinity Management Guide, along with a variety of other grower tools, available online.

Listen to the segment below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West