Salt accumulation can have serious consequences for your landscape. This photograph taken on a Greenwich, CT property is a perfect example of the damage that can be inflicted by repeated winter salt accumulation in the soils of landscape plantings. This row of White Pine (Pinus strobus) in our clients back yard is planted directly against a busy parking lot. The pavement has a slight slope making the salty runoff drain directly onto the clients property, but more so on the right than the left. These trees were all planted at the same time! High salt content in soils can cause excessive compaction, reduced nutrient uptake, and can simulate drought conditions for nearby plants.
Here’s a bit more on the science behind salt damage. Salt-containing slush collects on the roadside or, in this case, parking lots and leaches into the soil. (If drains are clogged or nonexistent, the potential for damage is even more likely.) Traffic splashes this salty slush onto the exposed parts of trees and salt enters plant tissue through the bark and buds. Trees and shrubs suffer because they absorb a disproportionate amount of chloride ions in relation to other salt nutrients. This can negatively affect photosynthesis, the growth process of trees and shrubs. In addition, bark and buds tend to dry out which can result in poor development of new leaves and corresponding branch dieback and gradual loss of vigor. Finally, the structure of clay soils is affected to a point at which compaction occurs which disturbs the critical moisture and oxygen exchange.
You can protect your property and your plantings from salt damage with early season fertilizations. These fertilizations include additives that are created to reduce the prevalence of salts in soil. Contact your arborist today to learn more.
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