Plants - Perennials

Salt-tolerant plants for sodium-laced soil

By
Canadian Gardening, with files from Anne Marie Van Nest

Dealing with too much sodium in your soil can raise the most patient gardener's blood pressure


Pro tips: Repelling road salt

  • Use mulch as a protective barrier to trap salt. Put down layers of mulch before winter and dispose of it come spring.
  • Add lots of organic matter to the soil to help drainage—especially important in heavy clay soils.
  • Condition soil with gypsum (available at garden centres). Add in late fall, which will help leach the salt from the soil. 
  • Edge the garden for drainage by creating a 15-centimetre-deep trench for the winter. If the garden borders a road, sidewalk or driveway, put the trench between the concrete and the garden. Another strategy is to build up the bed 30 centimetres so salt drains off.
  • Don’t stockpile salty snow on flowerbeds.
  • Water lawn thoroughly in spring to help flush away road salt.
  • If you’re unsure about salt levels, get your soil tested.
  • Ideally, keep plants at least four metres back from the main roadside.
  • Spray plants with an anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf or Cloud Cover, in the fall.
  • Erect a barrier—such as a hedge—to protect plants.

 

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