Cornus Florida or Cercis canadensis near road

Asked March 26, 2020, 12:24 PM EDT

Hello, I will be replacing non-native cherry trees near a road with Flowering Dogwood or Eastern Redbud (picture of the location attached). It is a full sun location. Salt may be an issue in the winter so I am wondering which will perform better. Are there additional ways to protect trees from salt in the winter? If you think both of these will struggle near the road are there any other native trees with similar showiness and wildlife value that have either white or pink blooms? Just a note: the tree will be planted in the middle of the bed, so it will not be as close to the road as the current trees. Thank you in advance for your help!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Both of the trees that you mention are lovely, but they are considered understory trees that do better with part sun conditions. We are seeing conflicting information about salt tolerance.
It is difficult for us to tell from your photo how far your planned planting area is from the road, as well as how close to the utility wires they would be. These two conditions are important. Many trees will grow too tall/wide to plant beneath the wires and soil salinity matters for many.
We suggest having a soil test done for the planting area. Here is our soil testing information, including a list of labs who can complete the analysis for you:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing
At the moment, U Mass is closed but U Delaware is open. They also have the ability to test for soil salts. Contact them to discuss adding the appropriate test.

Your choices for plants widens if the salt is not a problem.

Choices for native plants could include Crabapples (a favorite- be sure to choose one bred for disease resistance), white fringetree (Chionanthus) and Sweet Bay Magnolia.
One of our favorite references for native plants, especially in regard to wildlife is here: https://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/pdf/NativePlantsforWildlifeHabitatandConservationLandscaping.pdf The trees begin on pg. 53.


Christine