University of California

A study of some Egyptian saline and alkali soils


Warren R. Schoonover
M. M. Elgabaly
M. Naguib Hassan

Authors Affiliations

Warren R. Schoonover was Agriculturist, Agricultural Extension, Berkeley; visiting Fulbright Professor of Soils, University of Alexandria, Egypt, 1953-54; M. M. Elgabaly was Professor of Soils, University of Alexandria; M. Naguib Hassan was Assistant Professor of Soils, University of Alexandria.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 26(13):565-596. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v26n13p565. May 1957.

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For many centuries, soils of the Nile Valley and delta have been flooded annually by excellent water, and for the past 50 years, they have been irrigated perennially with stored water of somewhat lower quality.

The present survey and field observations, while not permitting broad conclusions, do show some evidence that use of Nile water for perennial irrigation has had an alkalizing influence. The occurrence of high exchangeable sodium content as well as of high salinity was usually associated with high water tables or poor permeability.

The extensive saline areas in the fringe of the delta at or below sea level are capable of reclamation, usually by effective drainage plus leaching. Some portions of these areas contain sufficient exchangeable sodium to make advisable the use of a soil amendment such as gypsum.

Quick-method determinations of electrical conductivity of saturation extracts, soluble divalent cations, gypsum requirement, and cation exchange capacity served to classify the soils, explain observed differences in plant growth and in permeability, and to outline reclamation procedures.

Pot-culture studies indicated that large-sized containers can be used efficiently for studying fine-textured, alkali soils, and that such studies are a useful preliminary to field tests of reclamation procedures.

Literature Cited

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Schoonover W, Elgabaly M, Hassan M. 1957. A study of some Egyptian saline and alkali soils. Hilgardia 26(13):565-596. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v26n13p565
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