How to manage Alkaline soil in Best 6 Ways

How to manage Alkaline soil
How to manage Alkaline soil

Alkaline  Soil

These soil which contains appreciable quantities of exchangeable sodium and may or may not contain excess  soluble salts are known as alkali soil.

Characteristics  of  Alkaline  soil

 In dry season, a layer of black crush is formed over the surface. so it is called black alkali.

 Electrical conductivity (EC) 4 mmhos/cm.

 PH  is 8.5 ­ 10.

 Exchangeable Sodium Percentage (ESP) is 15.

Classification  of  Alkali  soil

There are 3 types

1. Saline alkali soil­ when they contain soluble salts in excess, they are known as saline alkali soil.

2. Non­Saline alkali soil­ when they do not contain soluble salts are called non saline alkali soil.

3. Degraded alkali soil­ Under certain circumstances, the clay complex of some alkali soil is broker down  to give rise to degraded alkaline soil.

How to manage Alkaline soil/Management  of  Alkali  soil

A. Chemical Method 

1. Application of Gypsum-­ By cationic exchange, calcium is often used to replace sodium in alkali soil. If  the soil has no reserve Calcium carbonate, the addition of gypsum is necessary. When gypsum is used as reclaiming agent, Calcium replace the exchangeable sodium and converts the clay back into calcium clay.

Na2CO3 + CaSO4  →  CaCO3+ Na2SO4 
Use of Sulphur­- If the alkaline soil contain free calcium carbonates, sulphuric acid application is effective for reclaiming the soil. When sulphur is spread on the soil, it is oxidized to sulphuric acid, which converts sodium sulphate. If calcium carbonate is not present in the soil, it should be added artificially when sulphur is used for reclamation. 
2S + 2H2O + 3O2    →   2H2SO4 
Na2CO3 + H2SO4→ CO2 + H2O + Na2SO4↓ 
2CaCO3 + H2SO4→  CaSO4 + Ca(HCO3)2 
Addition of organic matter-­ The addition of organic matter increases acidity thus helping in lowering the  soil pH. Use of sulphuric acid­ Sulphuric acid changes to sodium carbonates to the less harmful sulphate and reduce  the alkalinity of soil. 
Na2CO3 + H2SO4→ CO2 + H2O + Na2SO4↓ 

Addition of molasses-­ Addition of molasses in the soil provide the source of energy for micro organism  which on fermentation produce organic acid. The organic acid reduce alkalinity.

B. Cultural Method 

1. Providing proper drainage-­ If the soil is not free draining, artificial drains are open to wash out the  alkalinity of soil.

2. Proper use of irrigation water-­ If the amount of water in the soil is decrease the concentration of  alkalinity in the soil solution is increase. Thus moisture should be kept at optimum field capacity.

3. Use of acidic fertilizer-­ Acidic nature of fertilizer should be used.

4. Use of organic manures-­ Organic manure have high water holding capacity.  When sufficient amount  of  organic  manure  are  added  the  water  holding  capacity  of  soil  are  increases.  As  a  result,  the  conductivity of the soil solution decreases.

5. Ploughing and levelling of land­- Ploughing and levelling increases the infiltration and percolation rate  of the land. Thus alkalinity leach down to the lower level.

6. Retardation of water evaporation from soil surface-­ Water may be conserved in the soil by retarding  the water evaporation.

You might interest more articles about Soil Science

Useful Agricultural Websites

Online Agricultural Study

Food and Agricultural Organization

United States Department of Agriculture

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