Salting the Earth

I’ve heard it said that Salting the Earth in an area will prevent anything from growing there again in the near future.

I suspect this this true, but I wonder, what is it about salt that would prevent plants from taking root? And How much salt would be needed to thoughly “contaminate” an area?

Try watering your plants with salt water and you’ll find they don’t last very long. When you water plants with slat water their cells will by osmoisis contiune to absorb it until they burst.

sorry that last sentence sounds a bit garbled, due to osmosis plant cells will contiune to absorb salt water until they burst.

Plants take up water and dissolved mineral nutrients via their root systems. The reason why salt is so poisonous is that plants have no ability to control what minerals they absorb and in what quantities. Anything that is dissolved in the water and able to pass through the cell membranes will be absorbed along with the water. Plants normally need sodium and chlorine, and so they are capable of absorbing these ions. With a lot of salt in the soil the plant simply absorbs it all. It’s the equivalnt of drinking salt water.

Once inside the plant the salt disrupts the osmotic balnce of the plant. Water is drawn out of the cells causing the plant to wilt and die.

So basically the toxic effects of salt are the same in plants as they are in animals. However most plants have no ability to excrete large quantities of salt the way animals can using urine.

Got a neighbour you don’t like?

There’s no simple answer. The amount of rainfall and the type of soil effect the amount of salt that can be tolerated. Some clays will lock salt away, hich can help to mediate the effects. However because the salt is adsorbed this also prevents the salt leaching out fast. Sandy soils with high infiltration rates can also handle salt contamination provided the rainfall is high enough to rapidly leach the salt out.

Then you have to take into account the vegetation already there. Some plants are naturally salt tolerant and will rmeove the salt. Even salt intolerant trees can also take a lot of salt out of th system before dying.

WAG but I’d say about one cup full of salt/m^2 would probably be required for a prolonged kill in most areas, probably 4 times that if there are a lot of trees.

It has more to do having certain areas of the yard that I’d rather keep free of vegitation.

However, that information was rather helpful. Thank you.

You can purchase a product called “Bare ground”. It kills everything. There may be hazards,like run off
,because of using salt.