Salt Tolerant Grasses

Exposure to salts, either in coastal environments or along roadsides, can stunt growth and even kill plants. Many of the grasses we grow can tolerate exposure to salts, especially species native to coastal areas. Based on several sources, the grasses and sedges below are reported to be salt tolerant. Other grasses and sedges may do well, too, but these are ones that have been identified as more tolerant.

The following grasses were rated highly on salinity tolerance and recommended for use as low-growing grasses along highways in Maryland:

  • Bouteloua curtipendula
  • Bouteloua gracilis
  • Deschampsia cespitosa
  • Eragrostis spectabilis
  • Schizachyrium scoparium
  • Sporobolus heterolepis

Because conditions vary widely, there are no guarantees. We advise trying a test planting first to determine whether these or other plants will do well in the conditions you have.

Download our PDF of salt tolerant grasses

Salt-Resistant Perennial Plants, Cooperative Extension of Ocean County (2013)
Identification of Low Growing, Salt Tolerant Turfgrass Species Suitable for Use along Highway Right of Way, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Maryland Department of Transportation (2016)
Salt Tolerant Perennials, The Green Mountain Gardener, University of Vermont Extension (accessed 2/20/18)
Salt Tolerant Plants for the South Carolina Coast (HGIC 1730), Clemson Cooperative Extension (2017)
Salt Tolerant Plants Recommended for Pender County Landscapes, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Urban Horticulture Leaflet 14 (accessed 2/20/18)
Winter Salt Injury and Salt Tolerant Landscape Plants (A3877), Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin Extension (2009)
eHALOPH – Halophytes Database, The University of Sussex (accessed 2/20/18)

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