How effective is salting the ground to prevent crops?

A offshoot of “Romans salting the earth after the 3rd Punic War. Fact or Myth?” thread

My question is, is this a effective method of preventing agriculture in the ways that the Romans were said to use in (but didn’t)?

I can understand it killing growing crops for that season, but it would require massive amounts of salt, most likely on the order of how we salt roads today - a huge effort for such a early society. And that salt would be washed away by rain, so perhaps only effective for one season? Or would it persist for many seasons?

I was wondering about this just yesterday, actually. All the road salt we’ve got around here *has *to be killing stuff off- everything that travels on, or lives near, the roads is crusted white from all the road salt.

Bonus question: would irrigating crops with Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator, kill them off?

Well, there’s always good ol’ wikipedia to start us off:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salting_the_earth

… which takes us to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_salinity

whereupon we can learn stuff like this:

And we have the old column.

Did you see this current thread*? You’ll find a good amount of relevant info there.

(*maybe out of the corner of your eye?)

But Brawndo’s got what plants crave!

KarlGauss, I’m pretty sure that kanicbird did in fact see that thread, given that he says in the OP that it was his inspiration for asking.

You’re being too polite! I think I need a nap. :o

Nice discussion of kanicbird road salt asbestos. Thanks for sharing it though. It’ll surely help to all. :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing it!

Spam reported. [spammer name removed]

Salt definitely works, but it really needs to be in massive quantity (you’re talking perhaps a pound per square foot) or it won’t work.

Aren’t you kinda spamming yourself :\

Nah. We always appreciate runner pat’s spam reports and they usually include the name of the spammer. Most of the time the spam reports just get deleted along with the spam, but in this case, since you commented on it I only removed the spammer’s name and not all of runner pat’s post.

How do you know this?

And at what point in ancient history did salt become common enough to make it a reasonable product to till into the ground? (serious question)

Jiminy wouldn’t it take a massive amount of salt just to wreck a single acre? Who’s going to haul all that salt around on the off-chance they might run into an opportunity to do in someone’s farm? Seems a lot simpler just to slaughter all the locals and claim the land for one’s own.

Some guy called Cecil Adamsestimates 31 tons per acre will do the trick. Which google tells me is 0.0459136823 pounds per (square foot) which seems a lot more doable.

Apologies but methinks your google fu is on the blink.

31 (US) tons = 62,000 pounds avoirdupois
1 acre = 43,560 square feet
ergo salting @ 1.42 lbs/sq foot