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Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Posted by Spike z5 MA (My Page) on
Fri, May 16, 03 at 12:11

People have asked for this type of forum many times, but I wanted to make it as broad as possible.

Here's my question. We moved to a place last year that's on a state highway in Massachusetts. This being a fairly severe winter, road salt was used fairly frequently and at the thaw there was clearly a lot in the top layer of soikl in a 2 foot stretch beside the road. And obviocusly, this has been going on for years.

Has anyone found any plants that tolerate road salt, and can also bear the snow plows?

I'm wondering if I should try to replace the top few inches of soil, but I can't be doing that on an annual basis. ;-)

Thanks!

Spike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I don't know about hardiness, but sea holly is impervious to salt, and I've never had any problem with the local 'road lillies'- they seem to survive salt, sun, floods, all-terrain trikes, deer, everything.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I helped a friend in CO with the same problem once. We found a great resource at the CSU extensions office online. I would double check the hardiness of the plants first, but it's a good start.. Check it out below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Salt tolerance of ornamental plants


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

  • Posted by apioid z6-7 Massachuse (My Page) on
    Fri, May 16, 03 at 15:08

Road salt is so generously applied to most Mass. roads that the conditions are more like the zone just above high tide or in some sites almost like the intertidal zone. On the harbor islands Tamarix is so salt tolerant that is almost invasive. I have seen the native, Juniperus virginiana within acouple yards of high tide get a huge dose of sea water in a hurricane and then the seaward side turned brown in a couple of months. However the plant showed almost damage by the end of the next growing season, and in the middle of the second growing season it was back to specimen appearance. Juniperus virginiana also volunteers along the high speed limited access roads of Massachusetts.

Pinus strobus which grows superbly in woodlots and parks away from roads,is severely fired by road salt that is airborne. The condition of many P.s. within view of cars on high speed roads is very poor. There are volunteer Malus that don't seem to mind the salt very much.

Alarge part of the salt problem is that many water bearing storms that help western Mass. are dried up by the same process that makes the eastern side of the Rockies a very dry zone.

However it seems that salt will be used at higher rates per mile per year, so that the situation is likely to worsen with time. If one has a strip it will be a matter of experimentation with the most drought tolerant stuff you can find.

I have Yucca about six inches from the edge of pavement on a residentai street that gets so much salt the crystals are visible for a week sometimes. Then when there is extremely slight snowfall the street stays bare, sadly the DPW truck puts down more salt anyway.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I second ditch lilies, they seem to thrive no matter what!


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Are ditch lilies the ubiquitous organge daylilies?


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

  • Posted by Pappa z8 WaxahachieTX (My Page) on
    Sat, May 17, 03 at 1:03

http://calendar.gardenweb.com


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Yes, ditch lilies are the common orange day lily. Don't think you could kill them off with anything less than a brush killer! However, I have noted that some of the newer daylily hybrids that are a solid yellow seem to tolerate salt also. I have Stella d' Oro in just such a situation and they have tolerated both the salt and being buried in the plowed snow. I'm here in zone 5, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. Hope this helps...happy gardening!


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Spike,
Just a bit north of you, so we get the salt on the roads too. Aside from lilies, you could also try plants that commonly grow wild along our highways, but are also featured in garden centers. Here they include Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan), Queen Anne's Lace (Yarrow) - can spread quickly, but is easily controlled - Lupins, Asters, and Daisies to name a few.
Hope this helps,
Amicably,
Nicole.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Thanks! I have seen a couple places where people used the common daylilies, and so many people are happy to get rid of them. ;-)


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

And Rugosa Roses! You'll find them growing wild along the ocean in New England, and when I lived further north than you I planted them near the driveway where they took a lot of salt in the winter and sometimes the brunt of a plow. They enjoyed the trim and came back every spring wilder than ever.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I've seem winterberry standing in sea water for months with no obvious damage.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

For some reason my Coreopsis 'Zagreb' and Blue Flax (Linum perenne) do fine under the mailbox, which gets up to its ears in salty snow every winter.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Spike-
Here is an excellent reference list derived from recent Ohio U. research; includes salt tolerant trees, shrubs, and perennials, divided into moderate and high salt tolerance groupings.

http://www.brucezimmerman.com/SALT_TOLERANT_PLANTS.htm

Gypsum (calcium sulfate) can be applied to the soil and watered in to reduce sodium salts also.

Ginger


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I think gaillardia is supposed to grow in salt and sandy soil.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

HI Spike

I am on Cape Cod - I live on a "cut-through" road. I put in a circular driveway for easy acess for visitors and wanted to take out all of the front grass near the road and just put in plants. My Uncle a retired landscaper advised me not to rip up the grass, just because of the road salt and plows. He told me that I wouldn't have plants because of the salt come spring. So I left a strip of grass then put in rocks ( from the beach) around the flower bed. In the flower bed is an assortment of flowers I had for years and some I got ideas from members here on the web. What I have had for years are Iris, Spirea, Daisy, Lily and Black-Eyed Susans. For annuals I always put in Petunias and Impatiens, as well as what ever I find hardy - some times snapdragons. I have now added the Cape Cod orange Lilies, Tickseed, two Roses, and Hyrandgeas sp.(I put in the fall and they came up despite the cold harsh winter). In this bed with regular mulch I also put in the pine chips from trees I had cut down in my yard. They are all fine. Even the new spring Tulips and Daffodils did well. But I really think the strip of grass and the pine chips saved my plants. I hope this helps. Because too plows are known to take down mailboxes in the winter I line the strip of grass in front bed with reflectors. The people who plow don't care much I find they barrel down the street but the reflectors do help so they know there is the yard there especially when its snow very hard and difficult to see!

Oh and I don't know the name of this plant but it spreads on its own, each year I get more and just dig them up and plant them in other spots, but is beautiful and gets tall with with silver grey leaves and purple flowers - its everywhere here on the Cape and also the geraniums both the annual and the perannual bushes I have had luck with. Since I want this bed "filled" and "thick" I am now digging up yarrow that is growing and moving it to this bed - but that can be invasive - a little goes a long way. Oh and the Cape Cod Roses found at the beach and as well as the cottage fence Roses always survive too. Good Luck!

Chantel :-)


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I have an old-fashioned unimproved sedum that tolerates everything including road salt. It makes a nice groundcover. I can give you some starts if you'd like to try it. It's low to the ground so would need to be right up front.

Here in Illinois, they plant pyrethum next to the edge of the state roads. Since we get a lot of salt in the winter, I'm guessing that it also is salt tolerant.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

Goodness, the only thing I could think of is Sea Fennel, but I have noooooo idea what cold weather would do to it.


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RE: Welcome! ...and first question: road salt

I second Rugosa Roses! A friend in Rhode Island swears by them.


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