How to Neutralize Salt in Soil

Updated February 21, 2017

Salt can enter soil from a surprising number of sources. A main source, and one that causes a great problem for grass along a street, is the use of salt to melt ice and snow. Overly salted soils also occur when too much fertiliser is applied, or when dogs are allowed to urinate on the grass. A concentrated level of salt will kill sensitive grass and damage other plants. There are several ways soil can be treated to help neutralise the salt.

Measure the impacted area with a pH test kit to see how badly the salt has affected the soil. If the pH reading is below 6.0, the soil has too much salt and needs changing. Most grass and other garden plants do best when the pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. If you desire to change the soil pH to neutral, then the reading after correction should be 7.0, which is the balance point between acidic and alkaline.

Flush the soil with water for three to four hours over several days, and then remeasure the pH to see if the level has come above 6.0.

Mix 0.454 to 0.907kg. of agriculture lime into the top 12 inches of the soil. Wait two weeks to measure the soil pH balance. If it has come up to the proper level, nothing more needs to be done. Add more lime if the pH is still too low.

Add 4 inches of manure or compost to the soil, and dig it into the top 12 inches. Check the pH balance after four weeks to see if it is correct.


If the soil is naturally salty, then there is no method of permanently neutralising the salt content, according to the North Dakota State University Extension.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Compost or manure
  • Lime
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.