Saltcedar not the suck-up it once was thought to be

FORT STOCKTON — Saltcedar, an introduced species choking many Texas waterways, long has been a prime suspect in dwindling streamflows, but a Texas A&M AgriLife team has found that Tamarix, the plant in question, may have been accused falsely of that specific crime.

Alyson McDonald, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service range specialist in Fort Stockton, said saltcedar probably was introduced into the U.S. as an ornamental shrub and windbreak plant in the early 1800s. The tree, any of several species originally from Eurasia, can reach heights of 25 feet or more and form very think stands. It has been successful here and is often the predominant tree species found along many Texas waterways.

Because it is so prevalent, since at least the 1940s there have been multiple saltcedar control projects implemented along rivers throughout the southwestern U.S. in an effort to increase streamflow. One early unsubstantiated report indicated a mature saltcedar used around 200 gallons of water per day, although this volume since has been refuted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists, McDonald said… Read more from TheEagle.com