Saline water irrigation has become extremely important in arid and semi-arid areas in northwestern China. To study the effect of alternating irrigation models on the soil nutrients, soil salts, and yield of tomatoes with fresh water (total dissolved solids of 0.50 g·L−1
) and saline water (total dissolved solids of 3.01 g·L−1
), a two-year field experiment was carried out for tomatoes in the Hetao Irrigation District (HID), containing six drip irrigation models: T1 (all freshwater irrigation), T2 (saline water used in the seedling and flowering stages; fresh water in the fruit-set and breaker stages), T3 (saline water in the flowering and fruit-set stages; fresh water in the seedling and breaker stages), T4 (saline water in the fruit-set and breaker stages; fresh water in the seedling and flowering stages), T5 (saline water in the flowering and breaker stages; fresh water in the seedling and fruit-set stages), T6 (saline water in the seedling and fruit-set stages; fresh water in the flowering and breaker stages). The study found that saline water irrigation tends to have a positive effect on soil total nitrogen and a negative influence on soil total phosphorus at each growth stage of the tomato. Soil Na+
, and Cl−
increased over the growth period, soil HCO3−
decreased gradually by growth stage, and the salt ions increased with the amount of saline water applied in alternating irrigation. Though the soil salt accumulated in all experimentally designed alternating irrigation models, soil alkalization did not occur in the tomato root zone under the soil matric potential threshold of −25 kPa. The utilization of saline water resulted in about a 1.9–18.2% decline in fruit yield, but the total soluble solids, lycopene, and sugar in the tomato fruits increased. Ultimately, drip irrigation with fresh water at the seedling to flowering stages and saline water at the fruit-set to breaker stages was suggested for tomato cultivation in HID.
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