Salt Cedar (Tamarix spp.)
Salt cedar (Tamarix spp.)

Salt cedar

(Tamarix spp.)


  • Native to Northern Europe and temperate and tropical Asia.
  • Deciduous, shrubs or small trees.
  • Introduced to the western United States as an ornamental in the 1800’s.
  • Foliage is bright green, diamond shaped, scale-like, alternate, look like cedar foliage. Leafs turn colour in the fall.
  • Flowers are, small, pale pink to white.
  • Grows in many soil types but prefers fine-textured soils. It tolerates a wide range of soils, but is intolerant of shade. It mainly inhabits the riparian areas of waterbodies.
  • Reproduce by seed but can also sprout vegetatively from buried stem or branch pieces.
  • Produces 600,000 seeds per plant per year.
  • Produces massive quantities of tiny seeds which have a short viability but can germinate very quickly in a broad range of conditions.
  • Recorded sites in Nelson, Trail and Montrose.

Consequences of invasion

  • Creates large taproots which uptake vast amounts of water, up to 200 gallons per day.
  • The large taproot that this plant possesses allows it to reduce water tables and drains wetlands with its high water usage. This plant can interfere with the water cycle and increase the frequency, intensity and effect of fires and floods.
  • Invades streambanks, lakeshores and wetlands.
  • It crowds out native species.
  • It creates deposits of salt, damaging the quality of the soil it inhabits.
  • It is estimated that the presence of saltcedar in western United States will cost between $7 and $16 billion US dollars in lost ecosystem function over the next 55 years!

Integrated Pest Management Options

  • Select a non-invasive alternative such as, common juniper (Juniperus communis) instead of salt cedar for your restoration project or water garden. Additional options can be found in the Invasive Species Council of Manitoba 2012 Grow Me Instead guide.
  • Avoid accidentally introducing non-native plants to surrounding water bodies by installing water gardens a safe distance away. Ensure water gardens are not allowed to overflow to wetlands, streams or rivers.
  • Properly dispose of garden and yard waste by double bagging and disposing of it at your local landfill.
  • Prevent plants from spreading from existing populations by washing vehicles, boots and animals that have been in infested areas.
  • Report plants infestations found in remote locations.
  • Mowing, chaining, ripping and bulldozing have been found to be unsuccessful due to extreme re-growth. The only known effective treatment is chemical control.

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