Salts Can Damage Plants


Salts in our desert water can damage plants. Here’s what you need to know about them.
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July is Smart Irrigation month

It’s a great time to think about how efficiently we are watering our plants. You’ve heard it all before, viagra sales but we will say it once more: it is best to water your plants deeply, cialis usa meaning less frequent cycles, yet longer run times. There are many benefits to watering plants deeply, including:

  • Encouraging deeper root systems which anchor better in soil, improved tolerance in drought conditions (such as irrigation outages or failures)
  • It helps to leach salt build-up in the soil. Excess salt in soil can greatly impact the overall growth and health of our plants.


(Photos of what salt accumulation looks like)

Here are a few facts on salts in the landscape:

Where do these salts come from?
Generally speaking, arid regions tend to be alkaline and salty due to the dry climate and high temperatures leading to fast evaporation. We do not receive enough water to ‘leach’ or push the salts past plant’s root zones. We also have salty water sources.  Ever wonder why they named it the ‘Salt River’?  Reclaimed water tends to be higher in sodium, which can be toxic to plants. Plus, we tend to water our plants shallowly (short, frequent intervals) which can increase salt levels in the upper soil profile.

Should I be concerned with salt in my soil?
Yes, especially if you are growing non-native plants or salt-sensitive plants. Salt sensitive plants tend to demonstrate leaf tip burn in the late summer when our water source tends to be higher in salts. Plants also can turn yellow (chlorotic) due to mineral imbalances from excesses of some salts.

How do I know if I have salt in my soil?
You can do a soil test to check for high calcium levels.  If you pour a cup of vinegar on the soil – does it fizz? Then you have salty soils! Soils that contain excess sodium are really concerning (for all plants) so it’s best to do a sample to see what levels you are dealing with in order to properly treat the plants.

How can I manage salt on my property?

Irrigation management is the very best way to help leach salts past the root zone. Quarterly leaching, which can be done by running extra-long cycles or a series of cycles, will help move the salt down beyond the roots. Sometimes soil amendments can be helpful, which you will discover after testing the soil. Another great time to leach is during times of heavy rain.

Really? Let the irrigation run when it’s raining?
Yes. Since rainwater doesn’t have salt, it doesn’t easily leach salts out of the soil. Adding irrigation water during the rain will actually aid in solubilizing sodium in the soil, while utilizing the volume of rainwater to push it deeper in the soil. So let the sprinklers run in the rain – if leaching sodium is the ultimate goal. Your plants will thank you.

LANDSCAPING TIP brought to you by the Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association,, the Arizona Certified Landscape Professional program and the Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) program. Sonoran Oasis Landscaping is SLM certified through ALCA.


If you want to learn more about landscaping in our desert environment and what you should know when dealing with your landscaping company, check out Deborah Munoz-Chacon’s book on Amazon. You can find ithere.

We hope everyone had a very happy 4th of July!  

Now that the parties and long weekend are over, here are some things to check in your landscaping in July:

  • If your property got a lot of rain with the recent storms,you can turn your irrigation system off for a few days to conserve water.
  • Make sure that your trees don’t have broken branches from the storms. And, see that the tree roots are firmly rooted in the ground. The rains may have loosened the soil and weak root systems can uproot your trees.
  • Now is the time to do some weed control. The rains encourage the summer weeds. A pre-emergent spray done before it rains will help to keep weeds under control.
Copyright © 2016 Sonoran Oasis Landscaping, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 30937
Tucson, AZ 85751
(520) 370-5697

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