Water shortages and poor water quality are critical issues in many areas of the world. With rapid increases in population and shortage of water supplies in urban areas, use of alternative water sources such as municipal reclaimed water and other sources of non-potable waters for irrigating landscapes is inevitable. A potential concern is the elevated salt levels in these alternative waters. This article briefly summarizes general information regarding alternative water sources and general responses of landscape plants to salinity stress. Methodology of screening and evaluating salt tolerance of landscape plants are discussed. Recent research results on salt tolerance of landscape plants and their physiological responses to salinity stress are reviewed. Like agricultural crops, a wide range of salt tolerance among landscape plants has been found. In addition to plant species, dominant salt type, substrate, irrigation method and management, and environmental conditions also affect plant responses to salinity stress. A number of mechanisms of salinity tolerance have been observed among landscape species, including restriction of ion uptake, selective ion uptake, and tolerance to high internal concentrations of sodium and/or chloride.
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