Dormancy

    Deicing Salt Damage

    salt damage

    Salt damage on quaking aspen (William Jacobi, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

    salt damage

    Salt damage on pine (William Jacobi, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

    salt damage

    Salt damage on yew (Joseph LaForest, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org)

    Description

    Salt used to melt winter snow and ice can splash directly on ornamental plants or can be deposited on the soil around plants. Excessive salt can create drought-like burning or scorch symptoms on leaves or needles, marginal yellowing and necrosis and in serious cases can lead to leaf or plant death. Excessive fertilizer use can also cause salt damage to plants. 

    Management

    Minimize salt damage by limiting deicing salt in areas near plants or by piling salt-affected snow in areas that won’t affect plants. Do not apply excessive fertilizer. Have soil tested by the USU Analytical Lab prior to making a fertilizer application or to test for excessive salinity.