Development Phase

Established Severe Phase

Water Salinity Level

Low to Medium Salinity

Key Comments

Rehabilitation of these sites may not be able to be achieved quickly, depending on severity, but may happen in stages over time. However, areas with a 10 year history of summer salt scalds and winter ponding have been covered with grasses and topsoil salinity decreased.

As the water table is lowered or dried out through interception strategies, increased productivity may be restored in the longer term.

Discharge Zone Management

Puccinellia can establish at these sites, however it may take a number of seasons to achieve full coverage. It can be useful to roughen or ridge the surface and only seed these grasses after high rainfall events mid-season, as this will give more chance for some of the salts to leach down and the seeds to find a suitable niche to grow and then thicken up over time.

Dividing and hand planting puccinellia plants from other areas can assist initial establishment. Tall wheat grass can also be sown, but will generally find it’s niche at the less saline edge areas. It will also help intercept water flowing further into the scald/ seep to reduce the perched water table. 

Interception Zone Management

Sow lucerne in a targeted strip of about 20m wide between the discharge and recharge zones, as close as possible to the affected area to intercept lateral water flows and directly utilise and lower the perched water table. Maintain lucerne and crop through it if required.
Planting rows of trees to intercept flows and reduce water tables can be effective once well established, but may not suit your farming systems and machinery operations, unless they fit along an existing fence-line for minimal impact.

Recharge Zone Management

Any deep sand amelioration with ripping, spading, delving, claying and the mixing in of manures or other organic matter etc, resulting in higher water retention and plant water utilisation will have a positive impact on reducing recharge, but will not have as dramatic affect as the water interception achieved with deep rooted perennials.

If it works for your farming system and paddock and you get a season with favorable conditions, then establishing lucerne over a larger portion of the recharge zone will significantly increase the rate at which the perched water table dries up and ceases to be affected by high rainfall periods and events.

External Resources

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