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Old 04-23-2009, 10:09 AM   #1
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Default Native Plants for Disturbed Sandy New England Roadsides?


My lawn is a weedy mess that I will be turning into flower beds over the years. One particularly challenging area intrigues me: a full-sun, shallow, sandy soil that gets baked dry on top of pure sand, and (on top of this) the snow-plow puts a ten-foot-plus deep pile of snow here every year (and churns up a good deal of the soil in the process.) This is in New England, by the way.

So, it’s a desert. Or a beach! I wouldn’t risk planting shrubs in the spot, because the plow will rip them up. I do plan on trying native grasses. In addition to this, I would like to develop a seed mix of native flowers that can be spread here.

If I can come up with a good mix, then I plan to give out these seed mixes as gifts, because hey, who wouldn’t like to grow some flowers in their messy post-snowplow roadside wastelands?

So, what natives might work in such a mix? I can only think of one so far: Nuttallanthus canadensis, blue toad flax.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:36 AM   #2
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While you are looking at grass try sand dropseed/sporobolus cryptandrus.
potentilla,gaura,evening primrose,liatris aspera,ruelliis humillis,figwort,vetch,prairie rose,wild strawberry,rudbeckia hirta...
Try looking at sandy barrens in your state. Isn't the terrace in Noah's garden planted from sandy pine barrens in your area?
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
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If the snowplow puts piles in the area then hopefully road salt won't just kill whatever you plant.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrimomma View Post
If the snowplow puts piles in the area then hopefully road salt won't just kill whatever you plant.
Yes, the point of this is to find native plants that can live in the salty, sandy, dry conditions.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
While you are looking at grass try sand dropseed/sporobolus cryptandrus.
potentilla,gaura,evening primrose,liatris aspera,ruelliis humillis,figwort,vetch,prairie rose,wild strawberry,rudbeckia hirta...
Try looking at sandy barrens in your state. Isn't the terrace in Noah's garden planted from sandy pine barrens in your area?
Thanks! What is this Noah's garden of which you speak?

I wish I had time to "go look at" places for ideas. Gabe keeps me a bit close to home.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:36 PM   #6
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'Noah's Garden' by Sara Stein
There was a wonderful picture of the terrace outside her home in 'Planting Noah's Garden' best completely native community (I think pine barrens) I have ever seen. Unfortunately she died a few years ago. I do not know if her wonderful gardens have survived.

sand dropseed has a good salt tolerance rating. At 1 to 3 ft usually smaller with less water I thought it a good choice. Sporobolus airoides got a much higher salt torerance rating but is not native to your area so I do not know about hardiness that far north. Plus it gets from 3 to 6 ft tall.

http://www.brettyoung.ca/professiona...d_Dropseed.pdf

http://ag.arizona.edu/turf/salinity.html
Table 1. Relative percent leaf firing (a measure of injury) under increasing salinity stress. Relative leaf firing indicates the change in leaf firing relative to control plants. Higher numbers indicate more injury.

Sporobolus airoides
NPIN: Sporobolus airoides (Alkali sacaton)
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks Gloria!
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:14 PM   #8
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I live surrounded by a street and two alleys with a fire department for a neighbor. Street salt combined with sharp sand is heavy all winter long.
Barriers like a wooden fence help keep out the salt spray mix. But in front where plows sometimes leave snow, only grass grows. Along one side an open fence allows salt spray to enter, it is also shady and dry. So we grow Symphoricarpos albus/common snowberry. Considered aggressive(not invasive) this is a good trait kept in check buy the conditions. While not showy it is hardy and the bees love the all summer long covering of nectar and pollen rich tiny flowers.
I like hearing what others do to combat salt problems, so please keep us informed as you go.

Intersting information...

Hort-Pro - Salt Tolerant Plants
Wetland Plants Salt Tolerant Plant List
SULIS - Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series: U of MN.

Herbaceous Plants with Moderate Salt-Tolerance

Scientific name Common name
Aquilegia micrantha Cliff columbine
Calamagrostis acutifolia'Karl Foerster' Karl Foerster reed grass
Dianthus pulminarious'Allwood' Helen Allwood pinks
Dianthus x 'Little Boy Blue' Little Boy Blue pinks
Dianthus gratianopolitanus Spotti pinks
Lotus corniculatus Bird's foot trefoil
Machaeranthera xylorrhiza Common woody aster
Schizachyrium scoparium Little bluestem
Waldsteinia fragarioides Barren strawberry


Scientific name Common name
Artemisia schmidtiana 'Sliver Mound' Silver mound
Festuca 'Elijah Blue' Elijah Blue
Hosta spp. Hosta
Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' Stella d'oro daylily
Hemerocallis fulva Tawny daylily
Helleborus orientalis Lenten rose
Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple' Palace Purple coral bells
Oenothera caespitosa Evening primrose
Sedum spectabile 'AutumnJoy' Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
Sphaeralcea coccinea Prairie mallow
Yucca glauca Soapweed


CSU Cooperative Extension Tri River Area


Flowers and their salt tolerances
High to Moderate - 6 to 8 mmhos
Aquilegia micrantha - Cliff Columbine
Machaeranthera xylorrhiza - Common Woody Aster
Psilostrophe bakerii - Paperflower
Stanley pinnata - Prince's Plume - a good indication that the soil is high in selenium

Moderate Salt Tolerance - 4 to 6 mmhos
Fallugia paradoxa - Common Apache
Oenothera caespitosa - Tufted Evening Primrose
Sphaeralcea coccinea - Scarlet Globemallow
Yucca elata Soaptree - Yucca
Yucca glauca - Small Soapweed

Slightly Tolerant - 2 to 4 mmhos
Argemone species - Prickly Poppies
Calochorutus species - Mariposa Lilly
Chyrsopsis villosa - Hairy Goldenaster
Gallardia pennatifida - Cutleaf Blanketflower
Mentzelia species - Blazing Stars
Physaria australus - Twinpod
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grasses and other Ground Covers and their salt tolerances
High tolerance - 14 to 18 mmhos
Agropyron elongatum - Tall Wheatgrass
Agropyron smithii - Western Wheatgrass
Distichlis - Saltgrass
Elymus triticoides - Beardless wildrye
Lotus corniculatus = Birdsfoot trefoil - a legume
Puccinellia - alkaligrass
Sporobolus airoides - Alkali sacaton

Moderately High - 12 to 8 mmhos
Bromus marginatus - Mountain brome
Lolium perenne - Perennial ryegrass
Melilotus alba - White sweet clover
Melilotus officinalis - Yellow sweet clover
Trifolium fragiferum - Strawberry clover

Moderate - 8 to 4 mmhos
Agropyron cristatum - Crested Wheatgrass
Agropyron riparium - Streambank Wheatgrass
Agropyron trachycaulum - Slender Wheatgrass
Arrhenatherum elatium - Tall meadow oatgrass
Bromus inermis - Smooth brome
Buchloe dactyloides - Buffalograss
Dactylis glomerata - Orchardgrass
Elymus giganteus - Mammoth wildrye
Elymus junceus - Russian wildrye
Festuca arundinacea - Tall Fescue
Medicago sativa - Alfalfa
Phalaris arundinacea - Reed Canarygrass
Low salt Tolerance

Alopecurus pratensis - Meadow foxtail
Festuca rubra - Red fescue
Festuca elatior - Meadow fescue
Poa pratensis - Kentucky Bluegrass
Trifolium pratense - Red clover
Trifolium repens - White clover

Problems with sand in salt mix.
Local News | Sand on roads worse than salt, scientists say | Seattle Times Newspaper
More cities skipping the sand when salting roads
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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Many Artemesia are introduced species. Some are on noxious weed lists.
Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #10
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I have some native plants growing around a sandy area around my mailbox by a road that gets dumped with sand and salt every year - the plants are in year 4 and still doing well! They are: Asclepias tuberosa, Aster ericoides (but really weedy!), Opuntia fragilis, Liatris aspera, Aquilegia candensis, and Petalostemum purpureum. good luck!

Last edited by Aster; 04-24-2009 at 03:45 PM. Reason: wasn't done writing :)
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