Regional Optimization of Roadside Turfgrass Seed Mixtures

Principal Investigator:

Eric Watkins, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science

Project Summary:

Roadsides in Minnesota account for nearly 100,000 hectares of established vegetation. This vegetation is responsible for preventing erosion and for keeping nutrients and contaminants from reaching ground and surface waters. Current MnDOT specifications for roadside turfgrasses suggest statewide planting of mixtures grouped into five broad categories such as low maintenance turf and high maintenance turf. The objective of this study is to identify turfgrasses that possess traits necessary to survive in the harsh roadside environments found throughout Minnesota. We will investigate the impacts of possibly the three most limiting environmental conditions (heat, salt, ice cover) on multiple cultivars from up to fifteen individual turfgrass species. After the grant periods, we can utilize this information to further study how these grasses might perform in various parts of the state and also use this information to amend current MnDOT mixtures MNST-12, 25-131, 25-151, and the pre-2012 MnDOT salt tolerant mixture. Results from this research will be used to update the current MnDOT Seeding Manual and provide MnDOT with guidance about the need for region-specific seed mixture recommendations.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 06/2016
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment