Winter Salts Killing Trees, UT Professor Says

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Heavy use of salt on roads because of above-normal snow and ice could be taking its toll on Tennessee trees, a University of Tennessee forestry professor said Friday.

Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck said beech, fruit trees, hemlocks, white pines and sugar maples were particularly vulnerable to salt damage during the January and February snows.

“Trees can bounce from just one year of average salt use, but repeated heavy use over time can kill them,” Clatterbuck said. “With ice storms like the one we had two years ago and the storms we’ve had this year, salt can cause the death of trees over time.”

On evergreens, salt injury begins as yellowing on the tip and progresses toward the base of the needle, Clatterbuck said. Symptoms on deciduous trees include leaves with scorched edges, crowns with dying twigs and early fall coloration and leaf fall, he said.

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Contact: Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck (423-974-7346)

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