"Salinization refers to a build up of salts in soil, eventually to toxic levels for plants. (3,000 - 6,000 ppm salt results in trouble for most cultivated plants.) Salt in soils decreases the osmotic potential of the soil so that plants can't take up water from it. When soils are salty, the soil has greater concentrations of solute than does the root, so plants can't get water from soil. (Remember osmosis -- water "tries" to accomplish dilution -- it moves from areas with lower concentration of dissolved substances to areas with higher concentration?) The salts can also be directly toxic, but plant troubles usually result primarily from inability to take up water from salty soils." (Oregon State University, 2014) 


Patricia S. Muir, Oregon State University. 1. Salinization. Link: