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Carinna Robertson Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science Forest and Rangeland Management. Tamarix ramosissima L. Family: Tamaricaceae. Sourcesandybottom.com. Many names of: Tamarix ramosissima L. . Common names: tamarisk saltcedar French tamarisk

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Tamarix ramosissima l family tamaricaceae l.jpg

Carinna Robertson

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science

Forest and Rangeland Management

Tamarix ramosissima L.Family: Tamaricaceae


Many names of tamarix ramosissima l l.jpg
Many names of:Tamarix ramosissima L.

  • Common names:

    • tamarisk

    • saltcedar

    • French tamarisk

    • small-flowered tamarisk

  • Scientific Names:

    • Tamarix pentandra

    • Tamarix chinensis

    • Tamarix gallica

    • Tamarix parviflora

    • Tamarix tetrandra

Plant characteristics l.jpg
Plant Characteristics:

  • Growth Form:

    - Perennial/Dicots

    - Tree - < 12m

    - Shrub - 1.5-5m

  • Root Growth:

    - branching lateral root system

    - phreatophytes

  • Flowering:

    - light to dark pink flowers

    - bloom from April to October w/ one large seeding peak, but has continued seeding throughout the season

    - 4-5 sepals

    - 3-5 styles

    - stamens located on a fleshy lobed disk

  • Fruit

    - 3-5 valve capsule

  • Reproduction:


    - Seeds

    - often produced in 1st year

    - small

    - light

    - tuff hair

    - Wind dispersed

    - Deposited via water or animals

  • Germination:

    - High youth viability

    - approx. 5 weeks

    - Once settling has occurred germination will occur within 24hrs.

    - However, germination can occur in water


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Plant Characteristic Cont.-

  • Seedling Establishment and Survival

    • Need saturated soil for first few weeks

    • High sunlight

    • No competing vegetation

  • Mortality

    - If soil dries for 1 day then seedling will not survive

    - High water flow velocities can cause uprooting up to several months after germination

First Stages of Development:


Ecological characteristics l.jpg
Ecological Characteristics:

  • Soils

    -Tolerant of high saline soils (6mgL⁻ to 15mgL⁻)

    - Typically sands

  • Allelopathy

    - Leaves release high salt concentrations

    - Which deposit below the Tamarix and

    create a hard crust

  • Competition:

  • Favorable Competitive Characteristics:

    - High plasticity and adaptability

    - High endurance

    - High drought tolerance

    - High temperature tolerant (xeric regions)

    - High salt tolerance

    - The combined effect of hard crust and being able to access a lower water table makes Tamarix a more sufficient competitor


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Geographic Distribution:

  • -Native Origin:

  • -Southern Europe

  • -North Africa/South

  • Africa

  • -Middle East

  • -South Asia

  • -China

  • -Japan

  • Habitat Type:

  • - Moist Spots in

  • Desert Regions

Non native invaded range l.jpg
Non-Native Invaded range:


- First introduced in early 1800’s as ornamentals, windbreaks, shade, erosion control and stream bank stabilization, and as source of wood

-Naturalized by 1877

- By 1920’s problem was realized

- Control efforts started by 1960’s


- Tamarix spp. is considered a noxious weed and hasinfested ~36 states

- 1920’s ~ 4,000 ha

- 2008~ 400,000-600,000 ha

Favorable Habitats

- Saline soils in xeric environments

- Variety of stream and riverbanks


Ecological economical and social impacts l.jpg
Ecological, Economical and Social Impacts:



Reduces Water Supplies

Reduces Recreation

Reduces Agricultural Uses

Increases flooding

Reduces wildlife diversity

Reduces Transpiration

Reduce Soil Quality


  • Health and

  • Safety

  • How we

  • perceive and

  • appreciate the

  • environment

  • spend our time

  • Decreases Native Species and Habitat Diversity

    • Inhibits Native Phreatophytes

    • Forms Monoculture Communities

    • Reduces the Water Table the Longer the Invasion

    • Creates a Saline Environment

Benefits of tamarisk to the surrounding habitat l.jpg
Benefits of Tamarisk to the Surrounding Habitat:

  • stabilizes stream and river banks

  • constitutes half the diet of beavers

  • provides habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax trailii extimus) and the white-winged dove

  • aesthetically attractive

  • honey bees favor the flowers

  • woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and the desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) forage adult Tamarix


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Control Methods and Strategies:

Biological Control Method:

-Leaf Beetle: Diorhabda elongata

- Used to defoliate Tamarix spp.

- Successful, but how will

beetles effect other aspects?

-restructure or eliminate

tamarisk patches

- vary regionally

- effect native species


James Tracy - USDA-ARS, Temple Texas, Bob Richard - USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Dan Bean-CDA Palisade Insectary, and Tim Carlson - Tamarisk Coalition.

James Tracy - USDA-ARS, Temple Texas, Bob Richard - USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Dan Bean-CDA Palisade Insectary, and Tim Carlson - Tamarisk Coalition.

Control methods and strategies cont d l.jpg
Control Methods and Strategies Cont’d:

  • Mechanical Methods:

  • Many unsuccessful because Tamarix spp. ability to resprout

  • Root plowing to 35-60 cm can be effective, but destroy other vegetation

  • Fire: Successful

  • Ideal time for best rates

  • Kills tamarisk during hot summers and drought

  • Need to re-apply for 3-4 years to fully kill

  • Often need to combine methods

  • A lot of implementation factors involved


-Cattle will sometimes eat young tamarisk shrubs

-Goats may eat the regrowth of tamarisk

-However, grazing is not a primary control method

- Animals prefer higher valued forage


Control methods and strategies cont d12 l.jpg
Control Methods and Strategies Cont’d:

  • Herbicide:

  • New Mexico

  • - Sprayed Arsenal (imazapyr )provided 90-99% control at a cost of $85/acre

  • - Mix of Arsenal + Round-up (glyphosphate) provided 90-99% control at a cost

  • of $60/acre

  • - Tebuthiuron is also approved for foliar treatments

  • California

  • - Garlon 4 (triclopyr) and Round-up (glyphosphate)

Conclusions l.jpg

  • Removal and restoration of Tamarix spp. infested areas should be of primary concern

  • Funds and support needs to be in place to proceed

  • Consideration should be taken to acknowledge the side-effects of each control method

  • Ultimately, I think biological control methods are more favorable, but the side-effect must be known and understood

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Works Cited:

  • -Hughes Lee E. 1993. “The Devil’s Own”-Tamarisk. Rangelands 15(4):151-155.

  • -McDaniel Kirk C. and J.P. Taylor.2003.Saltcedar recovery after herbicide-burn mechanical clearing practices. J. Range Management 56:439-445.

  • -Daoyuan Zhang,Y. Linke and P. Borong. 2002. Biological and ecological characteristics of Tamarix L. and its effect on the ecological environment. Science in China (45).

  • -Whitcraft Christine R., D.M. Talley, J.A. Crooks, J. Boland, and J. Gaskin. 2007. Invasion of tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) in a southern California salt marsh. Biol. Invasions 9:875-879.

  • -Cosse Allard A., R.J. Bartelt, B,W. Zilkowski, D.W. Bean, and E.R. Andress. 2006. Behaviorally Active Green Leaf Volaties for Monitoring the Leaf Beetle, Diorhabda elongata, a Biocontrol Agent of Saltcedar, Tamarix spp.. J. Chem. Ecol. 32:2695-2708.

  • -Tomaso Joseph M. 1998. Impact, Biology, and Ecology of Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in the Southwestern United States. Weed Technology. 12:326-336.

  • Taylor John P. and K.C. McDaniel. 1998. Restoration of Saltcedar (Tamarix sp.)- Infested Floodplains on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Weed Technology 12: 345-352.

  • Kimball Bruce A. and K.R. Perry. 2008. Manipulating Beaver (Castor canadensis) Feeding Responses to Invasive Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.)

  • Duncan K.W. and K.C. McDaniel. 1998. Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) Management with Imazapyr. Weed Technology 12: 337-344.

  • Sharfroth Patrick B. et al. 2005. Control of Tamarix in the Western United States: Implications for Water Salvage, Wildlife Use, and Riparian Restoration. Environ. Manage. 35: 231-246.

  • USDA, NRCS. 2008. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 November 2008). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • In class notes, Bob Nowak.

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