Design or redesign a landscape

Choose salt-tolerant plants

Photo: Extreme close-up of Fremontodendron sp., bee on flower

Finding information regarding the salt tolerance of Fremontodendron (flannel bush) is difficult. The mexicanum variety is highly salt-tolerant, according to one source cited in Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants: A Diagnostic Guide.

Looking elsewhere

There exist, of course, other sources of information by other researchers regarding the tolerances of species to salinity. These bear checking out. One useful source of information is the book, Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants: A Diagnostic Guide, by Lawrence R. Costello, Edward J. Perry, Nelda P. Metheny, J. Michael Henry, and Pamela M. Giesel. The book lists the tolerances to salt of approximately 600 species of plants, based on a number of sources, which are cited.

Wherever you obtain pertinent findings, make sure to find out about the methodology used to determine salt tolerances. Studies involving wider ranges of species and based at least partly on experimentation, rather than on observation alone, are more apt to be useful.

If scientific findings regarding salt tolerance are unavailable for a species you're considering, then search for other types of findings.

One way to do so is to log onto the Internet, go to one or more search engines, and type in the botanical name of a species of interest and the words "salt tolerance." The results you obtain will most likely not be as detailed or as specific as scientific findings. For example, tolerances may not be related in terms of the specific chemical contents of irrigation water or soil, but in terms of whether a species of plant simply is or is not tolerant. Often, if a modifier such as "moderate" or "highly" is provided, it may be defined imprecisely or not at all. It is advisable to scrutinize the sources of findings. For example, if the source is a university's cooperative extension or a government agency, then the information is more likely to be useful.

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