Growing Pistachios On Saline Soils
“It really matters that in the last 15 to 20 years, pistachio acreage expanded a lot on the marginal soils. And those are either salt-effective soils or saline sodic ground. And it’s estimated that currently 20 to 25% of the total pistachio acreage is grown on salt-effected soil,” explained Zaccaria.
There's more room for expansion in those marginal soil. It's also because there are just a few other crops that can grow on these difficult soils.
Zaccaria said these marginal soils also come with water limitations. “It's important to know that all these marginal areas are also areas where there are unreliable or restricted or impaired water resources,” he said. “On Department of Water Resources maps, you can see with all the dots in red, all the areas that somehow had a very sharp groundwater level change between 2015 and 2017. Of course, this is also the result of the drought between 2013 and 2015,” he noted.
Zaccaria said, these are the areas that may see major water restrictions when the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act clamps down on growers.