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The effect of high sodium irrigation water on soil salinity and yield of mature grapefruit orchard

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Citrus is considered to be specifically sensitive to chloride and sodium, yet little data exist to show the effect of these ions on yield. An experiment was started in 1978 to study the effect of sodic irrigation water on yield. The treatments were SAR of the irrigation water of 2.8-(L), 5.5-(M), and 10.3-(H) (mol/m3)1/2 \(({\text{SAR = Na}}^{\text{ + }} /\sqrt {{\text{Ca}}^{{\text{ + + }}} {\text{ + Mg}}^{{\text{ + + }}} /2} )\). The experiment follows a study on the same plots using irrigation water of variable chloride concentration and a uniform SAR of 4.2 (mol/m3)1/2.

The high SAR, high Cl water resulted in a yield reduction of 9% from the control treatment. This reduction was similar to the reduction observed when only Cl was a variable. Total water uptake was reduced as salt concentration in the soil increased. The average water uptake for the four irrigation seasons 1978 to 1981 was 1025 mm, 953 mm and 823 mm for the L, M and H treatments, respectively.

Soil ESP was increased as a result of sodium accumulation in the soil profile in the M and H treatments, while Cl and EC remained relatively constant with time during the experiment. After four years of irrigation the infiltration capacity values were 0.26, 0.17 and 0.16 cm/h for the L, M and H treatments, respectively. Fruit quality was not affected by the treatments.

No specific toxicity symptoms were observed when the Na concentration in the soil saturation extract was 16 mol/m3 and the ESP was 8.0. The results lead to the conclusion that within the range used in this experiment the high ESP did not specifically effect yield and that yield response was due to the total salt concentration in the soil.

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Contribution from the Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel, No. 626-E, 1982 series

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Bielorai, H., Shalhevet, J. & Levy, Y. The effect of high sodium irrigation water on soil salinity and yield of mature grapefruit orchard. Irrig Sci 4, 255–266 (1983).

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  • Water Uptake
  • Irrigation Water
  • Fruit Quality
  • Infiltration Capacity
  • Irrigation Season