Plants for Alkaline Soil

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Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby panamint_patty » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:28 am

Plants for Alkaline Soil
Not only do we have to deal with extreme heat and scarce water, but an issue which is just as important to take into consideration is alkaline soil. Soil in Searles Valley has a PH of over seven which is high on the alkaline scale. Although there are things that can be done to lower the soil PH, it's probably better to just get plants that can tolerate high alkaline levels. (BTW, another issue to take into consideration is winter temperatures. It gets cold enough here to kill a lot of plants that you might see down in LA or even in San Bernardino.)
MORE INFO: http://www.hortmag.com/headline/plants-for-alkaline-soil
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby panamint_patty » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:35 am

Dave's Garden
A really good place to look up info about plants is Dave's Garden. For instance, Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) does well soil PH from 6.6 to 8.5. It also can deal with summer heat as well as temperatures down to 10° F. On top of that once established these shrubs need very little water. This combination of attributes explains why this is a fairly popular plant in the Ridgecrest/Trona area.
LINK: http://davesgarden.com/
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby wildrose » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:24 am

Plants really have to be tough to survive out here in the desert. Between the heat, the lack of water, and the alkalinity of the soil, they have a lot to overcome. It would be nice to see a comprehensive list of plants that do well in Searles Valley.
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby CoolChick » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:05 am

Star Nursery Dr Q Alkaline Soils
This guy explains how soil pH works and he even makes house calls!
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby twister » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:52 am

I read somewhere that irises do well in alkaline soil. I think they need a fair amount of water, but if planted in a shady location and supplied with adequate water it might be that they would thrive. Anyone seen any irises in anyone's yard in the Trona area?
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby surfsteve » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:23 am

My tomato plants did better the year I put them directly into the ground with just a shovel full of potting soil,than they ever did in pots. Maybe the water washes the alkalinity down or something. I don't know. I also have had good luck growing grass on Trona soil as long as I can get enough water on it. I put my grass seed down directly on the ground, raked it in a little and covered it with at least two inches of straw. If you can keep the wind out here from blowing off the straw and give it enough water, growing a lawn was no problem. At least not for me. Along with washing the alkalinity down, the excess water required to grow grass or most anything also washes down your fertilizer; so it seems to need to be done a little more often. I don't think the alkalinity is as much of a problem as it was in the days when they were irrigating with brine. The main problem with shallow rooted thin leafed plants like grass, besides the cost of watering is that forgetting or not being able to give them enough water for a day or two in the desert heat can totally kill them, even after they are well established.
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Re: Plants for Akaline Soil

Postby panamint_patty » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:59 am

surfsteve: Tomatoes are in the same family as datura and so it could be that plants in the Nightshade Family like alkaline soil. I think the key is lots of water. You may also have luck growing lawn grass, but personally I don't really miss having a lawn. That just seems like a lot of extra work and a huge waste of water to me!
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Re: Plants for Akaline Soil

Postby sierra_jim » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:31 am

Plants that grow well in the desert are adapted to akaline soil and so it seems that the solution to finding plants that will tolerate akaline soil is to just use plants that naturally grow in the desert. I know people like variety and fancy plants, but the reality is that some plants just don't belong in the desert and unless you're going to build a greenhouse and pay the money to put in a climate control system, it's probably best to make due with what nature has provided.
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby twister » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:37 am

Tomatoes do well in alkaline soil. They take a pretty good amount of water, but they can handle the soil in Searles Valley pretty well. Stick with cherry tomatoes though since full-sized tomatoes tend to crack in the heat. Also cherry tomato plants will keep on producing throughout the summer while regular tomatoes just produce for a short amount of time. The shady side of the house is the best place for your tomatoes and a little netting isn't a bad idea to protect the fruits from the birds!
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Re: Plants for Alkaline Soil

Postby wildrose » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:41 am

Chamisa or Rubber Rabbit-brush is suitable for soils with a pH of up to 8.5. It is considered drought-tolerant and can handle the weather extremes of Searles Valley according to my sources.
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