If you discover that some of your plants are wilting and showing ugly yellow streaking and dryness, don’t automatically reach for the organic pesticide or fungicide. They may be responding to an excess of salt in the soil.
Causes of Salt in Garden
In northern climes, the salt generally comes from road de-icing initiatives; when the roads finally clear in the spring, the salt is washed off into the neighboring soil. If you live near the coast, you may be dealing with salt spray on the breeze (though really, this shouldn’t be a problem more than a few hundred yards inland). And in the west, of course, your water itself may be the problem; too often, it’s amazingly saline.
Damage From Too Much Salt in Soil
Salt hurts your plants by damaging their roots, and thus limiting their ability to absorb the nutrients they need. This is more likely to occur when the soil is moist. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent salt buildup in your soil and the resulting damage to sensitive plants, but you’re not entirely without recourse.
What You Can Do About Too Much Salt in Soil
1. Plant salt-resistant species such as yew, bayberry, and Bermuda grass.
2. You can also work compost into your soil to decrease the alkalinity.
3. If worse comes to worst, you may have to turn to gardening in containers, or in raised beds. But be aware that if the problem lies with your water supply, you’ll need to replace the soil in those beds or containers every 2-3 years.