Details and Information

Common Names

 Tamarisk, saltcedar, tamarix, French tamarisk; small-flowered tamarisk 

Description

Saltcedar is a pretty evergreen shrub that can grow up to 50 feet in height. As an invasive shrub, Saltcedar can form dense thickets of vegetation and is usually along waterways. The leaves resemble juniper leaves and they are scale like, overlap each other along the stem and are gray-green in color. The stems of Saltcedar are slender, light red or orange-colored and the flowers are pale pink to white and form at the branch tip. Dense plumes of the flowers bloom from early spring to late fall and each plant can produce 600,000 seeds annually. Saltcedar has a very extensive root system that will take in a large amount of water. The shrub deposits salt into the soil killing off other vegetation. This plant can reproduce by the root and seeds that are dispersed through water and air. 

Key Features

Saltcedar has an evergreen shrub appearance and showy pink flowers that bloom in clusters along the tips of the stems. 

Habitat

Saltcedar is located along streams, waterways, bottom lands, banks and drainage washes of natural or artificial water bodies. It will grow in moist rangelands and pastures and other areas where the seedlings can be exposed to extended periods of saturated soil for establishment. Saltcedar can also be found in some ornamental areas. 

Control

 There are herbicides and other control methods that commonly control salt cedar. Often dormant applications using cut-stump treatments are more effective. Foliar treatments are difficult due to size of trees, and are often done on regrowth of cut trees. For more information on these herbicides and other control methods contact the Weed and Pest office. 

Other Facts

 Saltcedar was introduced into the US in the early 1800’s for shelter belts. It will replace willows, cottonwoods and other native vegetation and it is a very aggressive invader. Saltcedar has very minimal forage value and is considered detrimental to wildlife habitat. There was a very effective insect biocontrol agent introduced for controlling saltcedar that defoliated the plant. This agent was removed after it was found that the endangered bird “southwest willow flycatcher” was nesting in saltcedar trees, and the hatchlings were killed due to defoliation from receiving too much direct sunlight.