Identifying High Salt Soil and Saline Soil

(Question)

Hi. Is there a way to identify soil with high concentration of salts without tools? Is it still possible to have high salt concentration in soils in an area with high rainfall and far away from the ocean? Thank you.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your interesting question about soil salinity.

Our first step was to determine more about soil salinity, and wikipedia offers this description:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_salinity     Soil salinity is the salt content in the soil; the process of increasing the salt content is known as salinization. Salts occur naturally within soils and water. Salination can be caused by natural processes such as mineral weathering or by the gradual withdrawal of an ocean.

The article by the Manitoba government, while somewhat technical does offer descriptions, causes, and methods of overcoming salinity in soil. For instance see Field Symptoms for identifying salts in soil surface colour, wetness and the growth of certain weeds:  https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/environment/soil-management/soil-management-guide/soil-salinity.html

It appears that areas with high rainfall can actually exacerbate the salinity problem, and given the various causes of a saline soil, that closeness to the ocean is not a major factor.

Two Methods for Monitoring Soil Salinity… Which One to Choose?

Googling “Soil salinity test kits” produces a listing of such kits, however laboratory tests would probably provide a more specific answer to your situation.

We hope that this information has been helpful. We wish you much luck with your investigation.