Growth responses of various saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) clones under salt stress conditions

Mohammad Pessarakli, David M. Kopec, Dennis T. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Continuous desertification of arable lands mandates use of low quality/saline water for irrigation, especially in regions experiencing water shortage. Using low quality/saline water for irrigation imposes more stress on plants which are already under stress in these regions. Thus, a logical solution could be finding a salt tolerant plant species to survive/sustain under such salinity stress conditions. Since the native plants are already growing under such conditions and are adapted to the stress, they are the most suitable candidates for use under these harsh arid saline soil conditions. If the salt stress tolerant species/genotypes of these native plants are identified, there would be a substantial savings in inputs in using them under these stressful conditions. Our studies on various native grasses indicated that saltgrass has a great potential to be used under harsh environmental desert conditions and combat desertification. The objectives of this study were to find the most salinity tolerant types of various saltgrass clones and to recommend them as the potential species for use under arid regions and areas with saline soils or saline water resources for sustainable agriculture and combating desertification. Various saltgrass clones were studied in a greenhouse to evaluate their growth responses under salinity stress conditions. Grasses were grown vegetatively in a hydroponics system under 4 saline treatments [EC = 6 (control), 20, 34, and 48 dSm-1 salinity stress] with 3 replications of each salinity treatment in a randomized complete block (RCB) design experiment. During this period, shoots were clipped bi-weekly for dry matter (DM) weight determination. At the last harvest, roots were also harvested and DM weights determined. Grass quality was weekly evaluated. Although growth responses reduced at the high salinity levels, all the grasses showed a high degree of salinity tolerance. However, there was a wide range of variations observed in salinity tolerance among the clones. The superior salinity tolerant clones were identified which could be recommended for sustainable production under arid regions and combating desertification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-664
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2011


  • Combating desertification
  • Salinity stress tolerance
  • Saltgrass clones
  • Sustainable agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Environmental Science


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