View Full Version : What does Soluble Salts

06-30-2004, 08:47 PM
I had a soil test done and it came back reading Soluble Salts 0.18. Can anyone tell me what this means? Remember I am in the south.

Thanks for any input!


06-30-2004, 11:38 PM
Soluble salts is a measurement of salts in the soil solution. Basically, high salts can cause agronomic problems by screwing up the soil chemistry and especially the osmosis process. High salinity can be addressed by "flushing" the soil profile with large amounts of fresh water coupled with good drainage. Salts are usually measured by an electrical conductivity reading of a soil solution extract (ds/m) or simply ppm. Some problems start to arise in selected plants if salinity measures in excess of 2 ds/m or 2000ppm.

more info

07-01-2004, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the info Greenpastures. This was a bermuda lawn, and the customer was fertilizing in between my treatments and I did not know this until 2 days ago. The wife called and said her grass was dying and they covered there yard with sand. My last application was 5 weeks ago. I go out and move the the sand to the side and took some soil to get tested. By the way there was a strong odor when I turned the soil up to get some for a sample. The lab came back and said there was a high content of salt.

What would be the best recommendations?

Thanks for any info!


Green Dreams
07-01-2004, 12:25 AM
Then I will assume its salts from there last application being spilled in spots. This is a great example of why you should hire a licensed pro...

07-01-2004, 01:02 AM
Horticulture Gypsum will help clean exchange sites of excessive salts along with fresh water and good drainage.

Poor drainage will also cause salt build up. If you find this soil to be poorly drained, the strong smell can if fact be anaerobic microbial. Lack of air in the soil will cause many problem which I am not going to explain right now. However hollow core aeration would be one place to start to eliminate the problem. If you can pull a core sample for someone to look at, they may have a better idea of a solution.

07-01-2004, 12:29 PM
I would be interested in what the lab report reading was (.18?)and the units of measurement it was reported in.

Aeration, and heavy non-saline irrigation would be my recommendation. If the customer irrigates from a shallow well that could be a problem (saline water). Sounds like drainage is an issue too. You have to be able to flush the water through the profile to rid the salts. If it is really screwed up, try the gypsum too as Ric states.

Before you make the assumption it is all a salt problem, be sure your soil sample was representative of the whole problem area. I have seen similar "die-out" after heavy sand applications simply due to hot spots created by the very porous sand. It eventually cures itself with decent irrigation or rain.