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Salt Cedar

Tamarix spp.


Description:  Spreading shrubs or small trees, 5-20 feet tall, with numerous slender branches and small, alternate, scale-like leaves.  Pale pink to white flowers.


Ecological Threat:  Salt cedars are fire-adapted species with long tap roots that intercepts deep water tables and interferes with aquatic systems.  Salt cedar disrupts the structure and stability of native plant communities and degrades native wildlife habitat by out competing and replacing native plant species, monopolizing limited sources of moisture, and increasing the frequency, intensity, and effect of fires and floods.


Biology & Spread:  Salt cedar spreads vegetatively, by adventitious roots or submerged stems.  Also, each flower can produce thousands of tiny seeds that are wind and water dispersed.


Threat in Oklahoma:  Seedlings establish most frequently in soils that are seasonally saturated at the surface.  Western and central sandy prairie rivers of Oklahoma are infested or currently being invaded.  Seems to grow best in saline soils, such as at the Great Salt Plains, but is tolerant of a wide variety of environmental conditions.


Management:  Problem Horticultural Plants

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