Screening and selection for salt tolerance in native warm season grasses


David Biesboer, Robert Jacobson

February 1994

Report no. Mn/DOT 1994-11



This preliminary study focused on a) surveying the concentrations of sodium and other metals along the rights-of-way of several of the most heavily traveled and salted roadways, b) development of a selection and screening method for salt tolerance in 6 species of native warm season grasses, and c) establishment of outdoor garden plots and field sites to further test the ability of native warm season grasses to grow under highly saline conditions. Salt levels along roadways were found to vary from very low to very high concentrations during the winter months but were found to decrease to levels that probably will allow germination and growth of tolerant grasses. Two species of grasses, blue grama and buffalo grass, were found to be tolerant of saline environments. Two roadside prairie restoration sites were established to further test the ability of mixtures of grasses to tolerate highly saline soils.

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