Oct 26

Assessing High Salinity Levels in Your Irrigation Water and Soils

Now that you understand the importance of testing your irrigation water quality, it’s time to take a closer look at those tests. With all of the different results on an irrigation water quality report, figuring out what it all means and what is really most important can be a bit overwhelming.

But if you remember that the three primary problems with water used to irrigate turfgrass are (1) excessive salinity, (2) excessive sodium, and (3) potentially toxic ions, the number of test results you have to look for is relatively small.

In this Blog post, we’ll look at the first issue: excessive salinity. You can assess salinity levels in your irrigation source by looking at the conductivity of your water (ECw) on a water quality report. This is expressed in units of dS/m or mmhos/cm.

High salinity in your irrigation water doesn’t necessarily mean there are salinity issues in your soil, but it does indicate salinity levels could build up in your soil over time during dry weather if you are irrigating a lot. Table 1 below should be used as a guide to measure the likelihood of soil or turfgrass problems caused by salinity in your irrigation water.

*Salinity tolerance varies greatly among turfgrass species. If medium to high salinity levels are found in your irrigation water, this warrants monitoring of soil salinity levels (ECe).  To find your ECe, you must have your soil tested by a reputable lab. Once you have the results, compare your soil salinity levels to the tolerance of the turf species you are growing (Table 2) to determine if you have a potential water uptake problem.

If your soil salinity levels fall in the acceptable range for your turf species, no further action needs to be taken. However, you should continue to monitor soil salinity levels to make sure they remain in the acceptable range.

If your soil salinity levels are above the tolerance range for your turf species, you’ll have to think about managing the high salinity levels in your irrigation water and soils.

Want to learn more? All of this information (and much more) can be found in our new Guide to Assessing and Managing Turfgrass Salinity Issues in Irrigation Water and Soils. Download it now for free.


About The Author

More than 60 years ago, Aquatrols introduced the world’s first commercially available soil wetting agent. Since creating an entirely new product category to address water management challenges and opportunities, the company has remained a top innovator and producer of high-performance soil surfactants and related technologies. In addition to its core business of wetting agents, Aquatrols has launched two active ingredients and is the exclusive distributor for Redox’s portfolio of turf products. Aquatrols’ advanced product suite optimizes soil-water-plant interactions in agricultural, professional turfgrass, and horticultural industries in more than 40 countries. Headquartered in southern New Jersey, Aquatrols also has offices in the United Kingdom and conducts business on six continents.


  1. […] our last Blog post, we focused on assessing salinity issues in your irrigation water and soils. Today, we’re going to look at how to successfully manage those […]

  2. […] previous Blog posts, we discussed the potential issues with high salinity in irrigation water and soils and how to manage them. However, there is a specific salinity issue that turf managers dealing with […]

  3. […] of testing your irrigation water when it comes to assessing two common turfgrass problems: high salinity levels and too much sodium present in irrigation […]

  4. […] We touched on the importance of testing your irrigation water as well as common problems related to soil salinity, high levels of sodium in irrigation water and soils, and the potential damage caused by the […]

  5. […] High salinity, high sodium, and potential ion toxicity from irrigation water are problems that are all commonly agreed upon by turfgrass managers and turfgrass researchers alike. […]