Soil Salinity: Effect on Vegetable Crop Growth. Management Practices to Prevent and Mitigate Soil Salinization
ICAAM— Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Apartado 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
Departamento de Fitotecnia, Escola de Ciência Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Apartado 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
Departamento de Engenharia Rural, Escola de Ciência Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Apartado 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Arturo Alvino and Maria Isabel Freire Ribeiro Ferreira
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae3020030
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
Salinity is a major problem affecting crop production all over the world: 20% of cultivated land in the world, and 33% of irrigated land, are salt-affected and degraded. This process can be accentuated by climate change, excessive use of groundwater (mainly if close to the sea), increasing use of low-quality water in irrigation, and massive introduction of irrigation associated with intensive farming. Excessive soil salinity reduces the productivity of many agricultural crops, including most vegetables, which are particularly sensitive throughout the ontogeny of the plant. The salinity threshold (ECt) of the majority of vegetable crops is low (ranging from 1 to 2.5 dS m−1 in saturated soil extracts) and vegetable salt tolerance decreases when saline water is used for irrigation. The objective of this review is to discuss the effects of salinity on vegetable growth and how management practices (irrigation, drainage, and fertilization) can prevent soil and water salinization and mitigate the adverse effects of salinity.