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Trees & Shrubs for Alkaline and Salty Soils

Life can be difficult...

Alkaline and salty soils often go together. They aren't quite the same problem

Alkaline clay soils tend to not have any structure to them. In summer they make good immitation of brick. They are nearly water proof.

For this discussion we're calling a pH of 8.0 alkaline.

Salt isn't just sodium chloride -- it's all the junk disolved in your water. Sodium is part of the picture, along with calcium and magnesium. The other side of the equations is mostly carbonate and bi-carbonate.

You can get a soil test kit at any garden centre to test for soil pH. You can bring a soil sample to me to have it tested for excess salts. Bring two samples: Each should be about a cup. (Cottage cheese or yogurt tubs work great) One from the top soil, and another sample from below the top soil -- usully a striking colour change -- about 8 inches down.

Anyway: Plants that have some tolerance for these conditions:

If you have to plant grasses, try wildrye and wheatgrass.

Seek Help!

I am far from expert on these matters. I don't have soils like this nearby. Many counties have a full or part time horticulturalist. Call your county office, and ask. They will know more about the soil issues in your area, and can give you more guidance.

As you find things out, let me know and I'll update this page.

Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

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Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 8 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548

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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.