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Book: Proceedings of the Second International Turfgrass Research Conference
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America



  1.  p. 551-556
    Proceedings of the Second International Turfgrass Research Conference

    Eliot C. Roberts (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-573-4


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Review of grasses for saline and alkali areas

  1. J.D. Butler,
  2. J.L. Fults and
  3. G.D. Sanks


Highway deicing and utilization of naturally contaminated soils for urban development have increased the demands for grasses adapted to saline and alkali conditions. In the northern areas of the United States only ten to twelve grasses are adapted to these adverse conditions. Furthermore, critical review of these grasses indicated that only three or four have desirable characteristics for turf use. Of these, alkaligrass (Puccinellia spp.) and desert saltgrass (Distichlis stricta, (Torr.) Rydb.) are found spontaneously vegetating saline and alkali areas over a wide geographic range. In 1969, weeping alkaligrass (P. distans (L.) Parl.) was observed growing along an Illinois highway where salt from deicing had destroyed the other vegetation. Since 1969, this grass has become widespread along the northern Illinois highways, and soil tests indicate that sodium levels in excess of 10,000 ppm and soluble salt levels over 30,000 ppm exist where the weeping alkaligrass grows. In Colorado, establishment of both weeping and Lemmon alkaligrass (P. lemmoni (Vasey) Scribn.) on salty and alkali areas has provided a satisfactory turf for both athletic and residential grounds.

Work directed toward either improved turf quality or increased salt tolerance of grasses adapted to saline and alkali conditions has received little attention. However, plant variants of both alkaligrass and saltgrass are being collected and screened in the United States. A selection of weeping alkaligrass (Colorado Accession 666) that exhibits good turf quality has been increased and distributed for extensive testing. Additional index words: Highway deicing, Alkaligrass, Desert saltgrass, Puccinellia spp., Distichlis stricta, Salt tolerance.

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Copyright © 1974. Copyright 1974 by the American Society of Agronomy, Inc. and the Crop Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA