Review of cool-season turfgrasses for salt-affected roadsides in cold climates

Joshua Friell, Eric Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Turfgrass is often planted along roadsides because of its adaptability and capacity to perform a wide range of functions. Like other roadside vegetation, it must withstand a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses while persisting long term with minimal management inputs. In cold-weather climates, snow and ice management practices on roads include the use of deicing salts. Deicing salts can have negative impacts on infrastructure and the environment including soil structure degradation, surface and ground water contamination, and reduction of vegetation quality along roadsides. Insights from past evaluations of turfgrass response to stresses experienced on roadsides can provide perspective for future approaches. This review provides historical context for the establishment of turfgrasses as roadside vegetation in cold-weather climates where deicing salts are used. Adaptability of species for roadside applications as well as field and controlled environment evaluations of salt tolerance are discussed. In future studies, improved characterization of roadside stress and broader collaborative evaluation programs can enhance testing and result in improved specifications for roadside turfgrass species and mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2893-2915
Number of pages23
JournalCrop Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 8 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Minnesota Local Road Research Board and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for supporting roadside turfgrass research in Minnesota. Thank you also to Dwayne Stenlund from MnDOT for his many years of collaboration and thoughtful input. Finally, thank you to Kristine Moncada at the University of Minnesota for her tireless editing efforts.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors. Crop Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Crop Science Society of America


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