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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 412-421
    Received: Sept 27, 1973

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Interactive Effects of Salinity and Fertility on Yields of Grains and Vegetables1

  1. Leon Bernstein,
  2. L. E. Francois and
  3. R. A. Clark2



The salt tolerance of crops has usually been studied under optimal fertility conditions. The objectives of the present studies were to compare crop response to salinity when nutrients were limiting, adequate, or in excess to guide proper fertilization of saline soils and to determine whether additional fertilizer could restore yield losses caused by salinity.

Corn (Zea mays L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and six vegetable crops were grown to maturity in large, outdoor sand cultures to study the interactive effects of salinity and nutrition. Increasing levels of phosphate (0.1 to 2.0 mM) aggravated salt injury in corn and decreased salt tolerance. Decreasing solution K from 2 to 0.4 meq/liter did not affect leaf K or yield of corn. Deficient levels of P or N did not consistently decrease salt tolerance of any of the crops studied, although the wheat and barley varieties showed erratic decreases in salt tolerance when N or P was deficient. When N or P was severely growth-limiting, salinity affected growth of some crops [broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), cabbage (B. oleracea var. botrytis)] less. Conversely, when salinity severely limited growth, nutritional responses of some crops decreased. Salinity did not aggravate N or P deficiency as judged by leaf N and leaf P contents. Effects of salinity and N or P deficiency on other mineral constituents were highly crop specific.

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