Our evergreens near the road have a lot of brown needles this summer. Is road salt the cause?
It could be road salt, especially if the trees are so close to the road that passing cars and trucks spray the salt on the branches. Melting ice and snow carry salt runoff to the trees’ root systems, so trees growing in low-lying areas may be more affected in this manner. The salt spray from winter ocean storms also can damage trees. Some tree varieties are more susceptible to salt damage than others. Blue spruce, white spruce, and Austrian pine are fairly resistant. Norway spruce, tamarack (larch or hackmatack, to some), and balsam fir are among the most susceptible. Keep in mind that salt burn on trees is similar in appearance to windburn. Are the trees on the side of the road that gets the most wind? If this is the case, try to protect them from the wind.