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SALT
TOLERANT PLANTS
 

BY BRUCE ZIMMERMAN


 
Whe
n designing or selecting plant material for a City Parkette or garden the information on plant material that will tolerate salt and salt spray has been lacking.  Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association has published a small Survival Guide for the professional.  It contains a list of Trees and Shrubs that will tolerate salt and breaks them down into the categories of High Salt Tolerance, Moderate Salt Tolerance and Low Salt Tolerance.  This has been very helpful but the gap is now what perennials will tolerate salt.

After five years of study Laura Deeter an Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute researcher has released a short list of Perennials that are, salt tolerant. The following perennials have proved to have a High Salt Tolerance. 

Sea Thrift Armeria maritima  
Karl Foerster Reed Grass   Calmagrostis acutifolia ‘Karl Foerster’  
Helen Allwood Pinks   Dianthus pulminarius x allwoodii  
Sea Thrift

Armeria maritima  
It is Not Called Sea Thrift For Nothing
Blue Lyme Grass   Elymus arenarius
Fountain Grass   Pennisetum alopecuroides  

THE FOLLOWING PERENNIALS WERE SHOWN TO BE MODERATELY SALT TOLERANT

Powis Castle Artemisia   Artemisia absinthium x Powis Castle  
Silver Mound Artemisia   Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’  
Elijah Blue Festuca Grass   Festuca sp. ‘Elijah Blue’
Hosta   Hosta plantaginea
 Sedum Autumn Joy  
 
 Sedum spectabile   ‘Autumn Joy’  
Autumn Joy Joy

Stella D’Oro Daylily  

  Hemerocallis hybrida ‘Stella d’Oro '  
Sea Lavender   Limomium latifolium  
Lilyturf Liriope spicata  
Palace Purple Coral Bells   Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’  

 The following Trees and Shrubs are selected from Landscape Ontario’s Survival Guide for Professionals.

 TREES AND SHRUBS WITH HIGH SALT TOLERANCE

Green Ash   Fraxinus americana
Shademaster Locust   Gelditsia triacanthos  
Larch Larix species  
Colorado Spruce   Picea pungens  
Austrian Pine   Pinus nigra
Ornamental Pears   Pyrus species  
Junipers  

Juniperus species  

How Low Can You Go

Large Toothed Aspen

Populus grandidentata  
Red Oak   Quercus rubra
Siberian Pea Caragana arborescens  
Honeysuckle   Lonicera species  
Bridlewreath Spirea   Spiraea x Vanhouttei  
Snowberry   Symphoricarpus species  
Lilacs Syringa species  

TREES AND SHRUBS WITH MODERATE SALT TOLERANCE

Silver Maple Acer Saccharinum  
Paper Birch   Betula papyrifera
Catalpa   Catalpa species  
Norway Spruce   Picea abies  
Basswood   Tilia americana
Forsythia
 Forsythia x intermedia 
Too Heavily Trimmed Forsythia
Shrub Maple   Acer ginnala
Boxwood   Buxus microphylla
Mockorange Philadelphus species  
Firethorn Pyracantha species  
Cranberry Viburnum   Viburnum trilobum  

  Armed with this information we should now be able to better design the gardens near our driveways, streets and public areas where salting is necessary to enable public access in our far to long winters.

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