The soil in extremely dry regions is usually brackish because of its high salt content. Known as saline soil, it can cause damage to and stall plant growth, impede germination, and cause difficulties in irrigation.
The salinity is due to the buildup of soluble salts in the rhizosphere—high salt contents prevent water uptake by plants, leading to drought stress.
It’s easy enough to test if you have saline soil. You’ll probably see a white layer coating the surface of the soil, your plants are growing poorly, and they’re suffering from leaf tip burn, especially on young leaves.
Saline soil is a major factor in the process of plot selection. It originates from soluble salts in the soil. A common source of salts in irrigated soils is the irrigation water itself. Salinization transforms fertile and productive land into barren land. Salinity limits the vegetative and reproductive growth of plants by inducing physiological dysfunctions and causing widespread direct and indirect harmful effects, even at low salt concentrations. The salt tolerance of plants is difficult to quantify because it varies appreciably with environmental factors (e.g., soil fertility, soil physical conditions, salinity components (ions), distribution of salt in the soil profile, irrigation methods, and climate) and plant factors (e.g., stage of growth, variety, and rootstock).