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Strawberries and Caneberries
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Agriculture and Natural Resources Blogs
SUN, DEC 3 2023
by Thomas Flewell
on August 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM
Not sure I understand this article very well. Most literature says that strawberry production is reduced when EC as determined by a saturated paste soil measurement is above 1.0. Practical experience in this area sees yield reductions with higher EC. What is your interpretation of these remarks as applied to practical strawberry farming practices.
by Mark Bolda
on August 18, 2017 at 12:42 PM
Hi Thom,  
The key to understanding this concept is knowing that for things which are more difficult to dissolve, the addition of more water will put more of it into solution. Gypsum is one of those substances which are a little bit more difficult to dissolve.  
At field capacity the 1/2 of pore space filled with water has the highly soluble sodium and chloride already dissolved, but yet some of the gypsum is not because it needs even more water to fully dissolve. Add the distilled water from "saturated paste" test as described in Dr. Grattan's letter, and the higher volume of water allows more of the gypsum to dissolve - which in turn raises the EC read because more gypsum is in now in solution than was before in just the soil water.  
Nevertheless, if we were dealing with just gypsum and no sodium or chloride, the higher EC isn't really negative for plant health because gypsum is not saline and therefore not harmful to plants.  
In conclusion it pays to be careful about interpreting a "gypsiferous soil" EC print, since one is also going to be looking at more gypsum, which is not harming the plant like sodium and chloride, in solution and in turn raising the EC number.  
Does that make sense? Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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