Alkaligrass - a lawn choice for salty situations
With water levels in aquifers dropping in some parts of the state and salty water a problem with some wells, lawn grass choice is a critical concern. Bluegrass is relatively intolerant of salts. Consider alkaligrass, Puccinellia distans, a native of the prairies in the western U.S. and Canada. Alkaligrass is a cool season bunch grass. A good variety for lawns is 'Fults' and is available from seed dealers.
Alkaligrass has five times the salt tolerance of bluegrass, can provide good turf quality, has the appearance of fine fescue, and can tolerate a range of mowing heights. Although it will grow with as little as 15 inches of moisture, this grass performs well in wet situations. It is low maintenance and particularly useful near roadsides where road salts accumulate.
In low salt soils, alkaligrass is not competitive with weeds and other grasses and has poor shade tolerance.
For more information, see the following Colorado State Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013