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  • Author or Editor: Steven R. Grattan x
  • HortTechnology x
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There are two ways salinity can damage citrus: direct injury due to specific ions, and osmotic effects. Specific ion toxicities are due to accumulation of sodium, chloride, and/or boron in the tissue to damaging levels. The damage is visible as foliar chlorosis and necrosis and, if severe enough, will affect orchard productivity. These ion accumulations occur in two ways. The first, more controllable and less frequent method, is direct foliar uptake. Avoiding irrigation methods that wet the foliage can easily eliminate this form of specific ion damage. The second way specific ion toxicity can occur is via root uptake. Certain varieties or rootstocks are better able to exclude the uptake and translocation of these potentially damaging ions to the shoot and are more tolerant of salinity. The effect of specific ions, singly and in combination, on plant nutrient status can also be considered a specific ion effect. The second way salinity damages citrus is osmotic effects. Osmotic effects are caused not by specific ions but by the total concentration of salt in the soil solution produced by the combination of soil salinity, irrigation water quality, and fertilization. Most plants have a threshold concentration value above which yields decline. The arid climates that produce high quality fresh citrus fruit are also the climates that exacerbate the salt concentration in soil solution that produces the osmotic effects. Osmotic effects can be slow, subtle, and often indistinguishable from water stress. With the exception of periodic leaching, it is difficult to control osmotic effects and the cumulative effects on woody plants are not easily mitigated. This review summarizes recent research for both forms of salinity damage: specific ion toxicity and osmotic effects.

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