Trees: Cultural Characteristics
Salt Tolerance: A Review of the Literature
The inconsistency in rating the salt tolerance of trees is the result of many factors. No trees are
wholly resistant to salt. Different degrees of resistance are apparent in species and cultivars, but
rarely is there consensus among plant authorites as to the level of salt tolerance displayed by a
particular tree. The table presented here, derived from a paper I published in the Journal of
Arboriculture 11:209-216 (1976), serves to indicate how trees have most commonly been cited as
having good, moderate, or poor salt tolerance by various authorities. A dash means no citations
occurred. Several species included in this compilation are not in the main body of the text but are
included here for purposes of comparison. Use this table only as a guide.
Tree                                                                        Salt-Tolerance Rating
                                                                      
Good        Moderate        Poor
Abies balsamea                                                       -                 *                   *
Acer campestre                                                       *                  *                   -
Acer ginnala                                                            -                  -                   *
Acer negundo                                                          -                 **                  *
Acer platanoides                                                    ****               *                    -
Acer pseudoplatanus                                               *                 -                   *
Acer rubrum                                                             -                 *                  ***
Acer saccharinum                                                    *                  *                  *
Acer saccharum                                                       *                  -                 ***
Acer tataricum                                                          -                  -                  *
Aesculus hippocastanum                                        ***                 -                  -
Ailanthus altissima                                                   **                  -                 -
Alnus glutinosa                                                         -                  -                 **
Alnus incana                                                             -                  -                 *
Alnus rugosa                                                            -                 **                 **
Amelanchier canadensis                                          *                  -                  -
Amelanchier laevis                                                   -                  -                  *
Amelanchier                                                             -                  -                  *
Betula alleghaniensis                                               *                  -                  -
Betula lenta                                                              *                  -                  -
Betula papyrifera                                                      *                 **                 -
Betula pendula                                                          -                **                 -
Betula populifolia                                                      *                  *                 -
Betula                                                                        -                 *                 -
Caragana arborescens                                             **                -                 -
Carpinus betulus                                                       -                 -                 **
Carpinus caroliniana                                                 -                 -                 **
Carya ovata                                                              *                  -                 *
Carya                                                                        -                 -                  *
Catapal speciosa                                                      -                 *                  -
Celtis occidentalis                                                     -                 -                  *
Cercis canadensis                                                    -                  -                 *
Chamaecyparis pisifera                                            -                  -                 *
Corylus                                                                     -                  -                 **
Crataegus crusgalli                                                  *                  -                  *
Crataegus                                                                 -                 -                  **
Elaeagnus angustifolia                                            ***                -                  -
Euonymus                                                                 -                 -                  *
Fagus grandifolia                                                      -                 *                 ***
Fagus sylvatica                                                         -                 -                  ***
Fraxinus americana                                                  *                 **                 -
Fraxinus excelsior                                                     *                 -                  -
Fraxinus pennsylvanica                                             *                **                 -
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis                            ****                -                 *
Hippophae rhamnoides                                            **                 -                 -
Ilex opaca                                                                 *                  -                 -
Juglans nigra                                                            *                  -                 **
Juglans regia                                                            *                  -                 **
Juniperus virginiana                                                 **                 **                -
Larix decidua                                                             *                 -                 -
Larix kaempferi                                                         *                  -                 -
Larix laricina                                                              *                 -                 -
Larix                                                                          -                 -                 **
Liriodendron tulipifera                                               -                 -                  *
Magnolia grandiflora                                                 *                 -                  -
Malus baccata                                                          -                  **                -
Malus                                                                        -                 **                 *
Metasequoia glyptostroboides                                  -                 -                  *
Morus alba                                                              ****               -                  *
Nyssa sylvatica                                                         *                 -                   -
Picea abies                                                               -                 **                 *
Picea asperata                                                         *                  -                  -
Picea glauca                                                             -                  *                  *
Picea pungens                                                          *                 -                   -
Picea pungens var.glauca                                        **                 *                  -
Pinus banksiana                                                       *                  -                  -
Pinus cenbra                                                            *                   -                 -
Pinus mugo                                                               *                  -                  -
Pinus nigra                                                               **                 -                  -
Pinus ponderosa                                                       -                 *                  -
Pinus resinosa                                                           -                 -                 ***
Pinus rigida                                                                *                 -                  -
Pinus strobus                                                             -                 -                 ***
Pinus sylvestris                                                          *                  *                  **
Pinus thunbergii                                                        *                  -                  -
Platanus xacerifolia                                                    -                 -                  *
Populus alba                                                           *****               -                  -
Populus alba
'Pyramidalis'                                         *                  -                 -
Populus angustifolia                                                   *                 -                 -
Populus deltoides                                                      *                 *                  -
Populus grandidentata                                              *                 *                  -
Populus nigra
'Italica'                                                -                  *                  -
Populus tremuloides                                                  *                ***                -
Populus                                                                     -                  *                 -
Prunus avium                                                             -                  *                 -
Prunus padus                                                            *                 -                  -
Prunus serotina                                                         **                -                  *
Prunus virginiana                                                       *                 -                  -
Pseudotsuga menziesii                                              -                **                 *
Pyrus                                                                         -                 *                  -
Quercus alba                                                             ***               -                 *
Quercus bicolor                                                         -                 -                  *
Quercus macrocarpa                                                 *                 *                  *
Quercus marilandica                                                 *                  -                 -
Quercus muehlenbergii                                              -                 -                  *
Quercus palustris                                                       -                 -                  *
Quercus robur                                                           **                -                  *
Quercus rubra                                                          ****               -                  -
Rhamnus cathartica                                                  ***               -                   -
Rhamnus davurica                                                     *                 -                   -
Rhamnus frangula                                                     *                  -                  -
Rhus typhina                                                             ***                -                  -
Robinia pseudoacacia                                             *******            -                  -
Robinia pseudoacacia
'Umbraculifera'                       *                  -                 -
Salix alba                                                                   -                  *                 -
Salix alba
'Tristis'                                                       *                  *                 -
Salix matsudana
'Tortuosa'                                        *                 -                 -
Salix                                                                           **                -                 -
Sorbus                                                                       -                 **                -
Syringa reticulata                                                      *                  -                 -
Tamarix ramosissima                                               *****              -                  -
Taxus cuspidata                                                        -                 *                  *
Thuja occidentalis                                                     -                  *                  *
Tilia americana                                                          -                 *                  **
Tilia cordata                                                              -                  -                  **
Tilia xeuchlora                                                           -                 -                   *
Tilia platyphyllos                                                       *                   -                 -
Tsuga canadensis                                                     -                 -                  ***
Ulmus americana                                                      -                 **                  *
Ulmus glabra                                                             **                -                  -
Ulmus pumila                                                             *                 *                  -