En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Salt from water softener affecting roses.

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 12, 2007

From: Bulverde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Salt from water softener affecting roses.
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a water softener at my well and wonder if an accumulation of salt over time is causing problems for my roses. After several years of doing really well the branches turn brown and eventually die. How can I prevent this? Is there a system to neutralize softener at the hose pipe? Something I can put in the soil to neutralize salt? Or should I just dig up the area and replace soil. 10 years of just adding new soil as needed. Thank you Bulverde TX.

ANSWER:

It does sound as if your roses are being affected by the salt accumulation from your water softener so it sounds as if you need to make some changes to your system. The mechanics and functioning of water softeners are far outside our area of expertise, but here is some information about how to reduce environmental impact of water softeners from Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (Monterey, California). Your best bet, it would seem, is to contact the manufacturer of your particular water softener to see what your options might be; and you might also do some internet research to see if there are water softeners that are saltless.

To make your roses healthy again you probably are going to have to replace a goodly portion of the affected soil. However, here are some other remediation options for saline soils that you might like to pursue further. One is from Colorado State University and addresses the problem of high salinity caused by irrigation water and is called Soil Salinity: Assessment and Remediation. The second possibility accomplishes soil remediation using halophytic (salt-loving) plants.  If it is possible to water your roses with unsoftened water, that is the best course of action you can take.

Finally, it is possible that your roses are simply afflicted with one of the many fungal diseases common to the genus.  The rainy weather in your area this year has created ideal growing conditions for many of these fungal pathogens.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with fruit of Mexican Plum from McKinney TX
May 19, 2013 - MY Mexican plum tree (about 5 years old) has small fruit on it. Some of them are severely deformed, and look rotten almost. They are bumpy and ragged looking. Or they are pasty white,rotten and dried ...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Fungus type problem on native blackeyed susans in Ohio
August 20, 2008 - I have black eyed susans that have recently developed a black fungus type problem in the bottom and on the leaves. The flowers are now wilting and dying. What is this and how can I stop it from possib...
view the full question and answer

Something killing evergreens on Long Island from Baldwin NY
June 06, 2011 - What seems to be killing so many of the evergreens on Long Island - see more and more dying each day - doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason - can it be helped? Many thanks.
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center