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why, how does plowing salt into a field make it barren? for how long after will it be that way?

read that the Romans plowed salt into the fields around Carthage to make it barren after defeating them in the Punic wars. how does salt cause the land to be come after and how soon and for how long and why?

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  • 9 months ago
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    It dissolves from the soil into the soil and ground water and the plants cannot take the saltiness of the water, so they don't grow. It becomes pretty much as if the fields were irrigated with seawater. Not a good thing for land plants. How long it takes to wash away the salt is hard to say in detail, because it depends on how much rain the area gets every year, how much salt was put in the soil, and how much the water runs way rather than evaporates (if there is a lot of evaporation, the salt won't be leaving fast at all). North Africa is a relatively dry area and has a high evaporation rate, so desalination of the soils would likely take centuries.

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  • 9 months ago

    Salt is a poison for bacteria and earthworms which are necessary for plants to grow.

    Plus plants can't grow in soil that has too much salt in it.

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  • 9 months ago

    Salt kills off the plants. It could take centuries to leech the salt out of the fields, you practically have to dig up the soil and replace it.

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  • 9 months ago

    Yeah don't read too much into those old tales. You'd need a sh!t tonne of salt to make an area the size of an ancient capital city barren, and back in the day salt was worth a lot more than it is now. So did it happen..? Probs not. Salt kills plants by drawing the water out of them. It lasts in the soil until it is washed out by rainfall, unless the area is particularly saline, in which case there would be no point.. Back in the day, the north African coast was very fertile with seasonal rains, so salting the ground would only have lasted a year anyway.

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  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    The land can be barren for decades.

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