Winter Salt

At seminar lectures discussing the effects of turf fertilizer on water quality, I am often asked about the impact of de-icing salts on water quality. A recent article on winter road salt indicates that freshwater rivers are becoming saltier and more alkaline. Click here to read the article.

‘White soil’ along roadside indicates severe salt accumulation from winter de-icing.

Looks Like Grass… But It Isn’t

Other than today and yesterday, soil temperatures in New Brunswick have been reaching into the lower 50s °F during the last week or so. And you see the effects, some plants are finally awakening from winter slumber. Cool-season turfgrasses are slowly greening up. Tree buds are swelling, some are flowering. Forsythia is just starting to bloom. And prostrate knotweed, one of the earliest germinating summer annual weeds, is emerging.

Prostrate knotweed is frequently found invading [Read more…]

Risks to Soils and Plants from Saltwater Flooding

As you might expect, we are receiving questions from county agents, landscapers, and property owners about saltwater flooding effects on soils and plants and the appropriate remediation. The information below may be helpful in answering these questions. (Thanks to Stephanie Murphy for pulling together a lot of this information).

Problems from Saltwater

There are a number of potential problems caused by saltwater including: i) the direct effect of burn (osmotic stress) on plant tissue; ii) dehydration of plants (physiological drought stress) caused by increased osmotic potential in soil; iii) plant damaged by sodium (Na) toxicity; iv) loss of soil structure caused by excessive Na; and v) soil infertility caused by increased soil pH (excessive alkalinity). [Read more…]