what trees to plant in alkaline soil

kerry_2008(3)March 12, 2008

My land is very alkaline based. nothing really grows, we have trees that are 3 feet tall and have been for 8 years.

What can i do to help those ones and what trees can I plant that will grow in alkaline soil. and ones that will be big.

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Kerry, if you can provide more info-where you are, reason for alkalinity and degree thereof, precip, etc, we'll be more able to help.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:54PM
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The above is the link to the USDA Plants Data Base. They usually have a "plant characteristics" page which lists soil pH.

Bur Oak is one tree that will grow in alkaline soils and should be ok in Zone 3. There are several trees that will grow in alkaline soil, but I'm not sure they are rated for Z3. An acid needing tree will just sit there and not grow or eventually die. Any soil treatment is temporary and will have to be repeated continually.

What tree species have you planted?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:14AM
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Hi, thanks for replying to my question. I don't really know much about this kind of stuff. My wife and I bought our house 3 years ago. There are trees, maples and green ash mostly, but the have stalled and some willows half of them are only 3 feet tall and have been like that for about 8 years my neighbours state. my land is very clay filled and when its dry you can see dry yellow dust that comes up from the ground. If you have any advice on how to help my existing trees and what to plant for new ones it would be very helpful as I miss having trees.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:30AM
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Kerry, I'm still wishing I knew what state you're in, but zone 3 helps. If you are interested in conifers, you could consider arbor vitae-Thuja occidentalis. This species is quite tolerant to neutral to somewhat alkaline soils. There are MANY cultivars-tall and narrow, bushy and multi-stemmed, globular, golden-foliaged, and on and on.

Good luck.....+oM

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:09PM
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A search on Arbor Day Foundation with variables of Z3 and alkaline soil yielded about 21 tree posibilities. The toughest 4 of these would seem to be Bur Oak, Eastern Red Cedar, Hybrid Poplar, and Hackberry. The first two are desireable trees. The other two less so, but then a tree that grows is more beautiful than one that doesn't.
I'm on the southern end (Z8) of the prairie with alkaline black clay soil and surprise, among the few dependable growing trees we have are :Bur Oak, Eastern Red Cedar, Hackberry (some variety of), and Eastern Cottonwood (which I believe will be one of the parents of the hybrid poplar).
Follow good planting techniques and water as needed the first two years (whole topics devoted to these subjects) and any of these four stand a good chance of establishing and growing.
Its always a good idea to look around and see what else others have planted that has been successful in your area.
Perhaps others from farther north will chime in.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 9:04AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

We really need to know where you are and what your soil is like besides being alkaline.

Cottonwoods do very well in alkaline soils, as do locusts, elms, boxelders, russian olive (noxious in some areas, but if kept trimmed up it is very attractive), golden willow. Spruce, ponderosa, and austrian pine also do well. What trees do you have that aren't doing well?

If your soil is extremely alkaline to the point of being alkali with white salt on the surface, russian olive is about all that will grow. You need to get the salt out of the soil and address the water problems first, then work on the trees in this situation.

In alkaline soils, some trees will have an iron deficiency caused by the pH. To overcome this, fertilize with iron sulphate, such as Ironite or ferrous sulphate purchased at a farm fertilizer dealer every year or two. This will have a bit of effect on the alkalinity and supply iron for a while also, making a big difference in an iron deficient tree. Spruce and golden willows are probably more sensitive to iron than some of the others.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 3:16AM
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Maybe Chinkapin Oak

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 10:40AM
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Follow up to what trees to plant in alkaline soil.
would like to thank the many of you who followed up with advice. The general opinion is Bur Oak. So I will follow up with that with some garden centers. Most stated if they knew where i lived would help. I live Southern Manitoba Canada. Just north of Winnipeg. Very flat very prairie thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 9:47AM
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