Sodium

by Leisa
(Olds, Alberta, Canada )

Rosa Rugosa, the beach rose

Rosa Rugosa, the beach rose

We have had our soil analysis and it was determined that it is very high in sodium. Need to know if we can correct this by putting anything in the soil. If not what types of trees and shrubs can grow in high sodium soil. Live in Olds, Alberta, Canada. Thank you

Comments for Sodium

Click here to add your own comments

Some Options for Salty Soil
by: Jacki

Considering that Alberta and most of central Canada was under water for millennia, it's not really surprising that the soil has a high sodium content.

There is nothing that you can add to it to get rid of it from the native soil except lots of compost which can buffer the salt content.

Lots of leaching helps, but in many cases, the land is flat and there's nowhere for the leached out salt to go. Leaching consists of using water to dilute the sodium and wash it away.

What I recommend is to build rock or stone walls, and place clean soil behind them in terraces or raised beds to get the plants above the level of the salt.

There are some good plant options that do well in saline soils; some of them you'll be familiar with because they already do well in Alberta, most of which has similar soil, and also cold winters.

You'll recognize Carragana, the ubiquitous pea shrub, Juniperus, ranging from low growing ground cover shrubs to single specimen trees, and many roses that have Rosa rugosa in their background. The wrinkly leaves, pink flowers and red hips in the autumn are instantly recognizable. The fact that they go by the common name of beach rose will give you a hint of their salt tolerance.

There are also oddballs like Halodendron halimodendron, the Siberian Salt Bush.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Horticulturist.