Roadside Vegetation Essay

907 Words 4 Pages
Introduction Finally, a warm day after a harsh winter, so what can you expect, all the ice/snow melting and flowing into our drains or into our grass, soil, and plants (Gould, 2013). Alongside with the ice/snow melting away into our environments so is that salt that was previously used to treat the roads (Gould, 2013). Roadside vegetation can become injured or die to due to the runoff from the treated pavements (Gould, 2013). The salt used for treated pavements is usually chloride-based and is applied to roadways, driveways, sidewalks, and highways to melt ice and snow to ensure safety for pedestrians as well as motorists (Gould, 2013). To improve traction de-icing salts can often be mixed with abrasives such as sand, cinders, gravel, and …show more content…
Plants can become injured when the roots and the foliage become exposed to salt water (Gould, 2013). The foliage becomes damaged when water that has been treated with salt is sprayed up from passing by vehicles (Gould, 2013). Another way salt can damage a plant is when the salt treated water percolates down through soil and comes into contact with soil particles, microbes, and plant roots which damages the plant’s roots (Gould, 2013). When vegetation is injured due to salt the plant can have increased water stress which occurs inside the root and is when water molecules become air tight by the salt’s ions, in turn this makes it extremely difficult for the roots to gain sufficient quantities of water (Gould, 2013). This can create a “physiological drought”, ending in depressed growth (Gould, 2013). Another issue that can occur is mineral nutrition, when both the sodium and chloride concertation components of the salt in the root area is excessive, the plants will instead consume them instead of nutrients like potassium and phosphorus; causing a deficiency (Gould, 2013). The soil quality can then be affected due to the sodium components in rock salt becoming attached to soil particles; which then displaces key soil elements …show more content…
For our environmental science final project we decided to examine the relationship between plants and salt. We chose four of the same plants, which were called Nephthytis, otherwise known as the arrowhead plant (Klingaman). These plants are slow-growing tropical vines which are native to parts of Mexico, Central America, and Brazil (Klingaman). Their color can change due to their environmental and can tolerate fairly cooler temperatures (Klingaman). Added to our plants was table salt, table salt is similar to road salt except for the fact that it is ground down finer than the road salt. The road salt is often mixed with rougher elements to help dissolve ice/snow. Unfortunately, for plants they do not have mechanism to excrete salt and can actually only “shed” salt in the form of dead leaves or needles (Gould, 2013). Due to the fact that plants cannot shed leaves on a daily basis, they can suffer from accumulated salt more than deciduous trees (Gould, 2013). However, for our own experiment table salt would give us a replica demonstration for road salt and plants. For our four plants we would add different amounts of salt, one plant would have no salt and this would be our control, the next plant would get ½ teaspoon, the following would get a whole teaspoon, and the last would get 2 teaspoons. Each plant would get the same amount of sun, the same soil, and the same water treatment. Making the salt our determining

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