Developing Salt-Tolerant Sod Mixtures for Use as Roadside Turf in Minnesota

Principal Investigator:

Eric Watkins, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science

Co-Investigators:

Project Summary:

The current Mn/DOT recommendation for salt resistant sod (Table 3878-1) is in need of re-evaluation. Recently, a number of sod installations conforming to the Mn/DOT specifications have failed. It is critical that additional grass species and cultivars are evaluated under high-salt conditions so that the best salt-tolerant sod can be produced. Several species that are not currently included in the recommendations have performed well in low-input turfgrass evaluations in Minnesota and should be evaluated for salt tolerance in roadside environments. The research is working to develop a recommended mixture or a set of mixtures that provide salt-tolerant sod by utilizing the most recently developed turfgrass cultivars. This research will undertake a four-year research sequence consisting of three primary objectives: 1) determine the most salt-tolerant cultivars within several turfgrass species in multiple roadside environments (including shade); 2) evaluate several mixtures in both roadside salt tolerance trials and sod evaluations using the top-performing cultivars from objective 1; and 3) quantify water use of the mixtures in objective 2 so the environmental benefits of salt-tolerant turfgrass mixtures can be communicated to users and stakeholders.

Sponsor:

Project Details: