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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Salt Cedar Removal from Landscapes Is Difficult

Q. What is the best way to remove Salt Cedar, mature trees and the seedlings that are sprouting all over the yard?  Would appreciate any advice you might be able to offer.

A. You should consider getting rid of it but I will warn you it will be difficult. Salt cedar, or tamarisk, produces hundreds if not thousands of seeds every year. The seeds will germinate easily even floating on water or submerged in flooded soils.
Salt cedar is a problem because it uses so much water and kills other plants growing close to it by pulling salt out of the soil, concentrating it in its needle-like foliage and dropping this salt load on the soil surface.
The salt concentrations are so high, very little will grow in these areas. The other problem is that it suckers easily from its roots so just cutting it down will cause it to sucker in many other places.
The most effective way has been to cut it down as close to the soil as possible and apply weed killers to the fresh surface of the cut. Another method is to drill holes in the trunk close to the soil and inject weed killers into these fresh wounds. The two most effective weed killers have been Roundup (glyphosate) and Garlon (tyriclopyr).
The label will tell you the concentration you should use. The best time for treatment is in the fall months just before plants are preparing for winter, not the spring. In our climate this would be October and perhaps early November.
After the tree has been injected and begins to die, you will probably see suckers growing from the roots in a last ditch effort to stay alive. Cut these suckers close to the ground and daub on the fresh cut ends with the same solution.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that a greater concentration of the chemical will give a better kill. Use the labeled concentrations. These were established by the manufacturer and tested in the field.
Seeds from the mother plant may continue to germinate for a long time after the tree is dead and been removed. When these seedlings emerge from the soil, kill them immediately. They can grow 1 foot or more every month during summer. Their roots grew first before the top so it will be deep. 
All of these years I have been working near and around salt cedar and I have no pictures of it. If any of you have some that are yours, send it to me and I will post it here.

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