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Amenity grasses for salt-affected parks in coastal Australia

Loch, D.S., Poulter, R.E., Roche, M.B., Carson, C.J., Lees, T.J., O'Brian, L. and Durant, C.R. (2006) Amenity grasses for salt-affected parks in coastal Australia. Project Report. TU02005. Horticulture Australia Limited.

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In February 2004, Redland Shire Council with help from a Horticulture Australia research project was able to establish a stable grass cover of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) on a Birkdale park where the soil had previously proved too salty to grow anything else. Following on from their success with this small 0.2 ha demonstration area, Redland Shire has since invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in successfully turfing other similarly “impossible” park areas with seashore paspalum. Urban salinity can arise for different reasons in different places. In inland areas such as southern NSW and the WA wheatbelt, the usual cause is rising groundwater bringing salt to the surface. In coastal sites, salt spray or periodic tidal inundation can result in problems. In Redland Shire’s case, the issue was compacted marine sediments (mainly mud) dug up and dumped to create foreshore parkland in the course of artificial canal developments. At Birkdale, this had created a site that was both strongly acid and too salty for most plants. Bare saline scalds were interspersed by areas of unthrifty grass. Finding a salt tolerant grass is no “silver bullet” or easy solution to salinity problems. Rather, it buys time to implement sustainable long-term establishment and maintenance practices, which are even more critical than with conventional turfgrasses. These practices include annual slicing or coring in conjunction with gypsum/dolomite amendment and light topdressing with sandy loam soil (to about 1 cm depth), adequate maintenance fertiliser, weed control measures, regular leaching irrigation was applied to flush salts below the root zone, and irrigation scheduling to maximise infiltration and minimise run off. Three other halophytic turfgrass species were also identified, each of them adapted to different environments, management regimes and uses. These have been shortlisted for larger-scale plantings in future work.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Funders:This project was funded by voluntary contributions from industry with matched funding from the Australian Government facilitated through HAL.
Corporate Creators:DPIF, DEEDI
Projects:HAL Project TU02005: Amenity grasses for salt-affected parks in coastal Australia
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Horticulture Australia Limited.
Keywords:Turfgrass; salt; salinity; parkland; turf.
Subjects:Plant culture > Lawns and turfgrasses > Salinity studies
Live Archive:10 Aug 2010 06:49
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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