Salt Toxicity

Pest/Disease: Salt Toxicity

Pest Type: Non-infectious plant disease



Major Identifying Features: High levels of sulfate, chloride, nitrate in soil, over fertilization, poor irrigation practices, ocean spray, salt from roads, white or dark crust on the soil surface, high pH

Life Cycle: Wet months from December through March, dry months from May through November

Pest/Disease Rating: N/A

Management Rating: Difficult

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Salt toxicity occurs in the Western side of the Central Valley, northern California’s Livermore Valley, Mojave Desert, some coastal areas in southern California, filled soils around the San Francisco Bay shoreline, any area with excessive fertilization, shallow wells, surface water, treated municipal water, irrigation of poorly drained soils

Damage Information: Discolored plants (beginning on margins), premature leaf drop, entire branches may be killed, slow plant growth, similar damage than water deficit

Management Options: Mechanical control by testing the soil for salts, improvement of soil drainage, leaching, chemical by adding gypsum and calcium, prevention with mulch and minimal fertilizer applications, by testing animal manure and other organic matter for salts, by planting more salt tolerant crops


Dreistadt, Steve H., and Jack Kelly. Clark. Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: An Integrated Pest Management Guide. Oakland, CA: U of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1994. Print.


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