Treatment Of Alkali

I am advised that in some cases alkali may be drained and that in others

it is treated with gypsum.

Gypsum is not a cure for alkali, but simply a means of transforming

black alkali into white, which is less corrosive and therefore less

destructive to plants, but there may be easily too much white alkali

present - so much that the land would be made sterile by it. You cannot

remove alkali by flooding unless two conditions can be assured: first,

that the water itself is free from alkali before application to the

land; second, that you underdrain the land at a depth of from three to

four feet with tile, so that the fresh water on the surface can flow

through the soil into the drains, carrying away from the land the

alkali, which it dissolves in its course. To flood land even with fresh

water without making arrangements for carrying off the alkali water

below, is to increase the alkali on the surface as the water evaporates,

and such treatment does land injury rather than benefit. We cannot give

you any estimate as to the cost of washing out. It depends altogether

upon local conditions: whether you use hand work or machinery for the

ditching, and what your water will cost.

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