Protection from road salt

Up here in the wilds of upstate NY, we get a lot of salt-laden roads, including the one right in front of our house. I have an apple tree about 15 feet away, but mostly a lot of arbor vitae (thuja “Green Giant”) that has grown a bit too close to the road to avoid the salt spray.

Given that burlap is so cost prohibitive, would wrapping heavy-duty landscape fabric along the tree line facing the road do just as well, or almost? It’s a price difference of hundreds of $$…

May be you can do a screen from landscape fabric instead of wrapping the whole tree? Burlap “breath” much better than landscape fabric, but if you do not wrap the tree and just cover it on one side - it doesn’t matter. l would take a piece of landscape fabric, tie ropes to its corners and tie ropes around tree, the way just half tree from the road is covered. That will not affect tree “breathing”. Good luck!


I wouldn’t do anything, Ian. Arborvitae are tolerant and if damaged they will recover from old wood or grow new shoots from the trunk.

15’ away for your apple tree is plenty far. That’s my thought. Crabapples are everywhere along streets and they have no damage whatsoever.

I say let it go.


1 Like

Perhaps with all the underground salt in upstate NY they have not started with the Mg salts on your roads yet. But if they do, those too can cause issues.

In our area they don’t use that much salt, but do spray various Mg solutions on the roads to prevent ice formation. It works on the ice (to some extent), but after a few years people started noticing that the pines on the downhill side of the roads were dying. And the county cut back on the Mg use.

Up here, it was the melt water runoff from the road which caused the problem, not the direct spray hitting the trees. If that is the case with salt too, then perhaps some drainage work to direct road water away from your plants would work better than covering them.

1 Like