Is Amelanchier canadensis salt tolerant?

Q. I am looking at planting some Amelanchier. Is it salt tolerant? Your web page on plants of Maine lists Amelanchier canadensis in the “Trees that Tolerate High Soil Salt Levels” category but then lower on the same page lists “Amelanchier species (some N) Shadbush” as “Trees that Are Intolerant of Elevated Soil Salts.” Is the canadensis kind the only one that is salt tolerant? I am next to brackish water that is becoming increasingly salty, probably due to climate change and more ocean water incursions, so want to make the right choice!

The usual fir seem to be doing okay where we are thinking of adding some Amelanchier. There is also some bayberry, which I love but it doesn’t seem to be spreading. Water goes past the rock line into the lowest-lying area several times a year when the tides and winds are strong and pound the shoreline together from the same direction. We’re thinking of planting just beyond that.


Marjorie Peronto, Extension Educator, Hancock County

Yes, you are correct, Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) is tolerant of high salt levels while other species of Amelanchier are not.

It may be beneficial to test the soil to have further insights and this time of year is a good one since the lab is not as backed up as in the spring and summer months.  If you decide to pursue a soil test you can find out more about obtaining a test kit from your local UMaine Extension county office.

Fir trees growing in this location are a good indication that salt build-up in the soil is likely pretty low, at least not enough to prevent Amelanchier from doing well. Bayberry on the other hand is very tolerant of salt and other stressors. If bayberry is not thriving, I would be hesitant to plant anything, just because there may be additional factors at play, like wind, that could make it a challenge to grow much of anything.