Q. How can I deal with salt damage to a street tree?
Trees can exhibit various symptoms resulting from excess salt application during the winter, e. g. stunted growth and browning of leaves.
Excess salt can be removed by heavy watering around the tree in early spring. Addition of gypsum can counteract salt injury. Good cultural practices, including adding appropriate fertilizer, will also help to keep trees healthy.
One preventative solution is to place mulch around the tree (or in the tree pit of a street tree) before the onset of winter. The mulch will absorb much of the salt and can be scraped off and thrown away in March or April. Remember when mulching not to pile the mulch up against the base of the tree trunk. Too much mulch may cause the trunk to rot and encourage pests and diseases.
In the future consider planting salt resistant species as street trees. See this web-site for further details: https://www.bartlett.com/resources/Salt-Injury-to-Landscape-Plants.pdf.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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