Salt Tolerant Trees & Shrubs

James Van Laeken

 

Most landscape plants are sensitive to soil salinity. Seedling trees and shrubs and young transplants can be particularly sensitive to salt exposure. The severity of salt damage to plants depends upon the amount and duration of exposure, and the concentration of salt. For example, coastal areas that receive consistent salt spray may always have elevated levels of soil salinity, whereas areas adjacent to roads where de-icing salts are applied may incur salt exposure only sporadically during winter storms. Similarly, areas subject to flooding by brackish water may only be affected by salinity following storms and high tides.

If there is adequate precipitation to leach the salt out of these areas soon after the initial exposure, the amount and duration of salt exposure will be brief. If salt exposure persists, or is repeated, damage will be more severe. There is a direct relationship between the amount and duration of salt exposure and potential damage to plants. The higher the amount of salt in the soil, the greater the impact on plants. Salt damage is generally more severe during periods of hot, dry weather.

Shrubs tolerant of saline soils or salt spray

Common name Latin name Deciduous/ Evergreen Cold/Hardiness/ Heat tolerance
Red chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia D 5-9/9-4
Saltbush Baccharis halmifolia D 3-7/7-1
Littleleaf boxwood Buxus microphylla E 6-9/9-5
Beautyberry Callicarpa americana D 5-10/12-3
False cypress Chamaecyparis pisifera E 4-8/8-1
Summersweet Clethra alnifolia D 5-8/8-3
Red osier dogwood Cornus sericea D 5-8/8-3
Spreading cotoneaster Cotoneaster divaricatus D 6-8/8-3
Rockspray cotoneaster Cotoneaster horizontalis D 5-7/7-5
Scotch broom Cytisus scoparius D 6-8/8-6
Gardenia1 Gardenia jasminoides E 7-11/12-1
Rose-of-Sharon Hibiscus syriacus D 5-9/9-1
House hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla D 6-9/9-3
St. John's wort Hypericum calycinum D 5-9/9-4
Chinese holly1 Ilex cornuta E 7-9/9-7
Japanese holly Ilex crenata E 5-7/7-5
Inkberry Ilex glabra E 5-9/9-5
Yaupon holly1 Ilex vomitoria E 7-10/12-7
Anise1 Illicium floridanum E 7-9/9-7
Chinese juniper Juniperus chinensis E 3-7/7-1
Common juniper Juniperus communis E 3-9/9-1
Shore juniper Juniperus conferta E 5-9/9-3
Creeping juniper Juniperus horizontalis E 3-9/9-1
Amur privet Ligustrum amurense D 3-7/7-2
Tatarian honeysuckle Lonicera tatarica D 3-9/9-1
Wax myrtle1 Myrica cerifera E 6-9/9-6
Bayberry2 Myrica pennsylvanica D 3-6/6-1
Mock orange Philadelphus coronarius D 5-8/8-3
Mugo pine Pinus mugo E 3-7/7-1
Shrubby cinquefoil Potentilla fruticosa D 3-7/7-1
Purple-leaf sand cherry Prunus x cistena D 4-8/8-1
Cherry laurel Prunus laurocerasus E 6-9/9-5
Beach plum Prunus maritima D 3-6/6-1
Pyracantha Pyracantha coccinea E 6-9/9-6
Indian hawthorn1 Rhapiolepis indica E 7-11/12-7
Staghorn sumac Rhus typhina D 3-8/8-1
Lady Banks rose1 Rosa banksiae D 7-9/9-3
Rugosa rose Rosa rugosa D 3-9/9-1
Scotch rose Rosa spinosissima D 3-9/9-1
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis D 4-9/9-1
Japanese spirea Spiraea japonica D 3-8/8-1
Bumalda Japanese spirea Spiraea x bumalda D 3-8/8-1
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus D 3-7/7-1
Lilac Syringa vulgaris D 4-8/8-1
Tamarisk Tamarix ramosissima D 2-8/8-1
English yew2 Taxus baccata E 5-7/7-5
Japanese yew2 Taxus cuspidata E 4-7/7-5
Highbush blueberry Vaccinum corymbosum D 5-9/9-2
Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum D 3-8/8-1
European cranberry bush viburnum Viburnum opulus D 4-8/8-1

Trees tolerant of saline soils or salt spray

Common name Latin name Deciduous/ Evergreen Type of salt tolerance Cold hardiness
/Heat tolerance
Hedge maple Acer campestre D Salt spray 5-8/8-4
Sycamore maple Acer pseudoplatanus D Salt spray 4-7/7-1
Horsechestnut Aesculus hippocastanum D Salt spray 3-8/8-1
Red buckeye Aesculus pavia D Saline soils 5-8/8-4
Paper birch Betula papyrifera D Salt spray 2-7/7-1
Gray birch Betula populifolia D Salt spray 3-7/7-2
Catalpa Catalpa speciosa D Salt spray 4-8/8-1
Hackberry Celtis laevigata D Salt spray 5-9/9-3
White fringetree Chionanthus virginicus D Saline soils 5-9/9-5
Lavalle hawthorne Crataegus x lavallei D Salt spray 5-8/8-3
Japanese cedar Cryptomeria japonica E Salt spray 6-9/9-6
Common persimmon Diospyros virginiana D Saline soils, salt spray 7-9/9-7
White ash Fraxinus americana D Saline soils, salt spray 6-9/9-3
European ash Fraxinus excelsior D Salt spray 6-9/9-6
Green ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica D Salt spray 4-9/9-1
Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba D Salt spray 5-9/9-2
Honeylocust Gleditsia triacanthos D Saline soils, salt spray 3-7/7-1
Kentucky coffeetree Gymnocladus dioicus D Salt spray 5-9/9-2
American holly Ilex opaca E Salt spray 5-9/9-5
Black walnut Juglans nigra D Saline soils, salt spray 5-9/9-5
Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana E Saline soils, salt spray 3-9/9-1
Goldenraintree Koelreuteria paniculata D Saline soils, salt spray 5-9/8-5
Common larch Larix decidua D Salt spray 3-6/6-1
Sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua D Salt spray 6-9/9-1
Southern magnolia1 Magnolia grandiflora E Saline soils, salt spray 7-9/9-3
Sweetbay magnolia Magnolia virginiana E Saline soils 6-9/9-6
Black gum Nyssa sylvatica D Salt spray 5-9/9-5
Colorado spruce2 Picea pungens E Salt spray 3-8/8-1
Austrian pine Pinus nigra E Salt spray 5-8/8-4
Longleaf pine1 Pinus palustris E Salt spray 7-9/9-3
Japanese black pine Pinus thunbergiana E Saline soils, salt spray 5-8/8-4
White poplar Populus alba D Saline soils, salt spray 4-9/9-1
Carolina cherrylaurel1 Prunus caroliniana D Saline soils 7-9/9-3
Black cherry Prunus serotina D Salt spray 3-8/8-2
White oak Quercus alba D Saline soils 5-9/9-5
Bur oak Quercus macrocarpa D Saline soils, salt spray 3-9/9-1
Pin oak Quercus palustris D Saline soils 5-8/8-4
Willow oak Quercus phellos D Salt spray 6-9/9-5
English oak Quercus robur D Salt spray 4-8/8-4
Red oak2 Quercus rubra D Saline soils 5-9/9-4
Live oak1 Quercus virginiana E Saline soils, salt spray 7-9/9-3
Black locust Robinia pseudoacacia D Saline soils, salt spray 4-9/9-4
Weeping willow Salix alba D Salt spray 6-9/9-5
Corkscrew willow Salix matsudana D Salt spray 6-9/9-5
Japanese pagodatree Sophora japonica D Salt spray 6-9/9-6
Japanese tree lilac Syringa reticulata D Saline soil, salt spray 6-8/8-6
Baldcypress Taxodium distichum D Saline soils, salt spray 5-11/12-5
Chastetree1 Vitex angus-castus D Saline soils 6-9/9-1