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Noticed yellow, pale green or brown needles on your evergreens in winter? Well, winter salt may be the issue–especially if your struggling trees are facing the road or near a sidewalk.

Winter salt prevents you from slipping in winter, but it actually hurts your plants and trees by drying them out. Luckily, helping trees affected by winter salt is easy!

If you’re more a planner, select salt-tolerant evergreens to avoid the problem altogether next year.

Salt-Tolerant Evergreens for the Northeast and Salt Belt

Remember! Always pick the right tree for the right place. That includes selecting trees in your planting zone. Then, wait until the time is right to plant evergreens, usually fall or spring.

Best Salt-Tolerant Trees for Zones 2-10

  • Common juniper (zone 2-8): A small but mighty evergreen that tolerates lots of wind              

  • Eastern redcedar (zone 2-9): A sun-loving evergreen that is also drought tolerant

  • Mugo pine (zone 3-7): An adaptable evergreen that thrives in most soils and is drought tolerant

  • Southern magnolia (zone 6-8): An evergreen that wows with snow-white flowers in late spring

  • Longleaf pine (zone 7-10): A Southern classic that is drought-tolerant when established

The Benefit of Salt-Tolerant Evergreens and Trees

Winter salt can cause trees to leaf out late, grow smaller leaves or suffer from dieback.

But, some trees can simply handle winter salt better than others. Those trees have defenses that can ward of salt better, so they’re less impacted.

Plus, “Strategically placed salt-tolerant trees can act as a barrier to protect less tolerant species from salt spray,” said Coe Roberts, a certified arborist and manager of digital strategy at the Arbor Day Foundation.

The Most Important States to Plant Salt-Tolerant Trees and Evergreens

As you’d guess, it’s most beneficial to plant salt-tolerant trees in areas that get the most snow. If you live in the Salt Belt, Coe recommends planting salt-tolerant.

The Salt Belt includes Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC.

Read more about how winter salt can damage trees here!

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