The Strategy: Saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima) is a deciduous tree that inhabits water ways and small reservoirs. It has small scale-like leaves and pink to white flowers, giving the tree a very beautiful appearance. This tree continues to be introduced through the nursery industry but is now listed as a noxious weed. This tree can be shrub like or if old enough can look like other cedar trees. Unfortunately it has been seen along the Snake River, Ririe Reservoir, and the Teton River Drainage. It is the worse invader along the Colorado River.
The Attack: Saltcedar develops roots very quickly and once established has the ability to drain the water out of small water systems. One single tree can use up to 200 gallon of precious water each day. I have seen ponds that are dry and once the trees are removed they fill up with water. It drips a ‘salty’ residue which prevents other plants from growing around it, even after the tree has been removed.
The Defense: DO NOT PLANT ONE – As this is a noxious weed it is illegal to plant. Cutting down the tree (even if it was planted years ago by Grandma) is most effective, but it will be necessary to ‘paint’ a herbicide on the fresh cut surface immediately after cutting to kill the stump. There are a few insects available to control the tree, but the birds love to eat them. Using herbicides such as Garlon, Arsenal, and in some cases Roundup are best, but watch for off-target drift of the herbicide. Most importantly, watch for this plant in your nursery magazines as it is the wrong plant to plant in our area. Many counties have a ‘tree replacement’ program for this tree so call your local County Weed Office for all details.
PLEASE NOTE – The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.