UMN and MTGF Virtual Field Day 2013, Salt Tolerant Roadside Turfgrasses

Josh Friell
Josh Friell

Ph.D Student

Turfgrass Science

[email protected]



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Did you know?

The value of turfgrass as roadside vegetation was first recognized in the 1930s with the conception of major road construction projects like the U.S. Numbered Highway System and the Autobahn in Germany

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Salt Tolerant Turfgrasses for Sod

As part of a larger project to develop turfgrass mixtures suitable for roadsides, the Turfgrass Science Research Group at the University of Minnesota has been growing and evaluating 51 turfgrass species mixtures for potential sod production. Part of this process is to evaluate the physical characteristics of the sod and determine its suitability for harvest, transport, and installation in many parts of the landscape here in the Upper Midwest.

Mixtures were seeded in fall of 2012 and consist of three to six turfgrass species. Plots were maintained at 7.6 cm, received 16 kg N ha-1 per month from June through October during 2013, and will be harvested to a depth of 1.5 cm in spring of 2014. Harvested samples will be subjected to a tensile load and, using a load cell, the failure profile of each will be recorded to determine which mixtures provide the greatest durability and resistance to tearing.

Action Items

  • Consider whether you have an area next to a sidewalk or road that is affected by winter salting and may benefit from establishment of salt-tolerant turf mixtures.
  • When purchasing seed, check your seed mix to make sure it contains slender creeping red fescue, strong creeping red fescue, or hard fescue. Alternatively, contact a local seed distributor to purchase these species before establishing a roadside turf area.
  • For information about purchasing salt-tolerant sod visit the Minnesota Crop Improvement Agency (

Additional Resources

Roadside Salt Tolerant Turf Mixtures Being Tested (.pdf)