Knowing Salt Levels in Water and Soil

Taylor Hillman Drought, Soil, Specialty Crops, Water

salt levels
As the drought continues, monitoring salt levels in your water and in the soil moisture is important to avoid salinity issues.

San Luis Obispo Cooperative Extension County Director Mary Bianchi talked at a recent avocado tour about the importance of knowing exactly how much salt your trees are taking up. “Looking at the electrical conductivity (EC) or the salts in the irrigation water, that’s important to know,” Bianchi says. “It can give you an indication of what the EC might be in the pores of the soil where the plant extracts water.”

Bianchi says growers should know what the salt levels are in both. “Measuring both is an important thing to do right now, especially early in the season, to see what the EC levels are in the irrigation water going into the heavy irrigation period,” Bianchi says. “But also assessing what the EC of that pore water is which is really where the roots are working.”

Bianchi added there are several ways to do so and cooperative extension is always available to help out.