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Let's Talk Salt Resistant Plants

Let's Talk Salt Resistant Plants

plant-salt-damageWhat a winter! Snow, Rain, Ice and more Snow and it's only January 3rd.  While most of us are concerned about running out of salt for our driveways and walkways, and we should always put our own personal safety ahead of our landscape well being, it is worth taking a few moments to talk about the effects of salt on our plants and lawn, how we can prevent damage and what plants are the most resistant to damage from salt.

Every winter the state of Illinois applies hundreds of thousands of pounds of de-iceing material to our roads and walkways. Privately, homeowners apply thousands more. All of this ice is dissolved into our soil and taken up by the roots of lawns, trees and plants in our public and private landscapes. Many plants cannot take this level of salt and become damaged or even die from the salt intake.

The Effects of Salt on the Landscape

salt-damage

  • A burned, brown look on the plants facing the salted area
  • A burned, brown look on plants planted on a downward slope from salted areas
  • Spring delay in bud break and flowering
  • Stunted growth
  • Ongoing salt damage can weaken the plants resistance to insects & disease, leading to death.

How To Prevent Salt Damage

  • Plant Salt Loving, or Salt Resistant plants in areas with heavy salt exposure.
  • Put up protective burlap or barriers along high traffic areas
  • Use Sand instead of Salt in areas near plantings
  • Use less salt
  • Divert runoff from salted areas away from planting beds
  • Apply anti-desiccants in the fall to lock in moisture and act as a protective barrier. Salt will suck moisture out of the plant without an application of anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf.
  • Keep plants healthy all season by watering and fertilizing as needed
  • Apply Gypsum. Gypsum counteracts and breaks up soil in the soil.

Plants that are Salt Tolerant

Decidous Trees

Evergreens

Shrubs

Perennials

Norway Maple

Juniper

Weigela

Amsonia

Horsechestnut

Blue Spruce

Spirea

Creeping Phlox

Paper Birch

Mugo Pine

Sumac

Day Lily

Hawthorn

 

Barberry

Dianthus

Honeylocust

 

Forsythia

Lamb's Ear

Oak

 

Potentilla

Russian Sage

Weeping Willow

 

Cotoneaster

Salvia

Catalpa

 

Chokeberry

Miscanthus Grass

Gingko

 

Alpine Currant

Switch Grass


There are many more plants that will survive and even thrive in areas where salt is applied. Come into our garden center or give us a call at 847-658-3883.

For more information about sal damage in the landscape, click here for a downloadable PDF from Purdue University Extenstion.

Have a question? Contact us!

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