Salt Damage to Northern White-Cedar and White Spruce


  • Norman P. Kutscha
  • Fay Hyland
  • Alan R. Langille


Salt damage, <i>Thuja occidentalis</i>, <i>Picea glauca</i>, morphology, anatomy, leaves, twigs


Five-year-old transplants of northern white-cedar and white spruce were treated with tap water applied to the soil and with various concentrations of sodium chloride in distilled water, applied either to the soil or to the foliage. Observations were made on the gross morphological effects and anatomical effects of the treatments. Morphological damage included discoloration and loss of foliage. The most significant anatomical damage included fragmented cuticle, disrupted stomata, collapsed cell walls, disorganized or disintegrated protoplasts, coarsely granular cytoplasm, disintegrated chloroplasts, disintegrated nuclei and disorganized phloem. While there appeared to be no outstanding anatomical differences between the effects of soil versus foliar applications, both species did show somewhat less damage by soil-applied than by foliar-applied salt. It was not possible to conclusively assign the cause of morphological or anatomical damage to indirect effects, such as water deficiency or to ion toxicity of the salt. However, the results did suggest that northern white-cedar may be somewhat more salt-tolerant than white spruce.


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