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Salt Injury to Plants

Too much of anything can be bad. And that includes salty ocean breezes and de-icing salts on our plants.

The sodium chloride in ocean water and many de-icing products damage plants in several ways. Roadside mist from passing cars and salt laden ocean breezes can burn the leaves and buds on the plants. Once the bud scales dry the tender leaf and flower tissue is exposed, dries and often dies.

If the salt builds up in the soil, it can interfere with the plant’s uptake of other necessary nutrients. When taken up by the plant it interferes with photosynthesis and metabolic processes important to the plant’s survival.

Salt laden soils draw water out of the roots. The desiccated roots can’t function leading to damage and even plant death.

Prevent damage with proper snow management, use of salt tolerant plants and barriers, and thorough watering.

A bit more information:  If plants are actively growing or exposed to salt water for a long period of time, they will experience more damage than those nearing the end of their life cycle.



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Mequon Nature Preserve
Mequon, WI

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Sanger House Gardens
Milwaukee, WI

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Pasquesi Home & Gardens
Lake Bluff, IL

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