Native salt tolerant plants

Tue. Jan. 23, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Native salt tolerant plants

I love salt.  It’s a great seasoning.  I don’t love it in my lawn but there’s not always a choice when you live on a block that gets salted after an ice storm or snowfall.

MNDOT salt truck

Road salt can damage your plants by interfering with their water uptake through their root system.  It will look like root damage or drought and include stunted growth, scorching on leaves and maybe the formation of witches brooms on shrubs on the salt side of the plant.

Salt damage on yews courtesy of Purdue U

Salt damage on yews courtesy of Purdue

As you consider landscaping around your perimeter to take into account not all plow truck drivers stick to the road.  I’ve had them scrape my lawn too.  Always take into account the mature size of your plants as well and place them accordingly, especially if you have on street parking, you don’t want your plants trampled.

Consider these natives:

  • Butterfly weed aka milkweed aka Asclepias tuberosa  – this is the host for monarch butterflies
Big Bluestem

Ornamental native grasses that tolerate salt include Big Bluestem, Little bluestem and switchgrass.  I’m a big fan of grasses and would really consider a mix of these and Blackeyed Susan, which is also salt tolerant.

Additionally, Summersweet, which has a wonderful fragrance is a native salt tolerant shrub.  Others include serviceberry, winterberry and hackberry.