Likely situations for dense saltbush plantings


1.     Salinity and waterlogging
Suited to land of moderate-to-high salinity and low-to-moderate waterlogging in the 250–400mm zone.

Most likely situations for saltbush

Subsoil salinity/ depth to watertable matrix





Drivers of saltbush zonation 

  • A halophyte and so does best with some salinity.
  • Sensitive to waterlogging but can survive a higher watertable in winter than summer.
  • Growth in summer assisted if roots can access groundwater.
  • Summer grower, doesn’t like cold.
  • Rainfall 300-400 mm


Key to symbols

red dot

This is the zone most preferred by samphire and where this Saltland Solution is highly recommended.

Small Dot

Saltbush is one of the possible options for this zone but it is outside its preferred conditions;

red ring

Samphire will most likely survive in this zone, but its growth will be poor and uncompetitive with other plant options.

The saltbushes are the perennial halophytes with the broadest range of adaptation to saltland in southern Australia. The recommended range of ECe values in the subsoil (25–50 cm) for dense plantings of saltbush is 8–16 dS/m. For sites with an average subsoil ECe below 8 dS/m, the recommendation would be for less dense plantings of saltbush with more focus on improved under-storey – as outlined in Saltland Solution 4 – Saltbush and understorey.

2.     Climate and soils
Waterlogging is the most significant soil limitation for saltbush growing on saline land. Saltbushes prefer alkaline soils and will grow on sandy to clay soils, but can only be direct seeded if there is a sandy or loamy surface.

The suitable rainfall range for saltbush stands is approximately 250-450 mm but of the best stands tend to be found in areas with 300-400 mm average annual rainfall. Anecdotal evidence suggests that old man saltbush has better tolerance to temperature extremes than river saltbush and old man saltbush will withstand quite severe frosts.

3.     Indicator species
Sea barley grass is a very common indicator plant for saltbush. If less salt tolerant species (such as annual ryegrass) are also present then Saltland Solution 4 – Saltbush and understorey would be recommended. If more salt tolerant species such as curly ryegrass are present, then dense saltbush plantings could be a suitable option.

Related Links: