Salt tolerance of 75 cool-season turfgrasses for roadsides

Joshua Friell, Eric Watkins, Brian Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Roadside vegetation is subject to significant salt stress as a result of runoff water and road de-icing practices in cold weather climates. Salt-tolerant turfgrass can play a role in maintaining roadsides that are both functional and sustainable. As such, the objective of this research was to evaluate the differential salt tolerance of turfgrass cultivars that may be suitable for roadside establishment. Three replications of 75 cool-season turfgrass cultivars were established in a randomized complete block design at two locations: Roselawn Cemetery (Roseville, MN, USA) and MnROAD research facility (Albertville, MN, USA). Plots were seeded during August and September of 2010. Visual ratings of establishment were collected throughout the fall, and survival was evaluated visually in spring 2011. Numerous cultivars of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) established best at all locations in the fall; however, winter survival varied by location. Cultivars of alkaligrass (Puccinellia spp.), including 'Fults,' 'Salty,' 'Oceania,' and 'Salton Sea,' performed best at Albertville. 'Shoreline' slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. ssp. litoralis), 'Navigator' strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. ssp. rubra), and an advanced population of sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.) from the University of Minnesota turfgrass breeding program were among the most salt tolerant at Roseville. Site-dependent performance and effective salt tolerance of cultivars from numerous species indicate that a carefully chosen mix will be best for establishment and maintenance of high-quality roadsides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalActa Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B: Soil and Plant Science
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Minnesota Local Road Research Board and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for funding and support of this project. Also, thank you to Roselawn Cemetery and the MnROAD research facility for the use of the study area. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge the invaluable advice of our reviewers.


  • Alkaligrass
  • fine fescue
  • roadsides
  • salt tolerance
  • turfgrass


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