Regional Optimization of Roadside Turfgrass Seed Mixtures

Principal Investigator:

Eric Watkins, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science

Project Summary:

Roadsides in Minnesota account for nearly 100,000 hectares of established vegetation. This vegetation is responsible for preventing erosion and for keeping nutrients and contaminants from reaching ground and surface waters. Current Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) specifications for roadside turf grasses suggest statewide planting of mixtures grouped into five broad categories such as low maintenance turf and high maintenance turf. The objective of this study is to identify turf grasses that possess traits necessary to survive in the harsh roadside environments found throughout Minnesota. As a first step toward identifying mixtures for various regions in Minnesota, researchers are investigating the impacts of possibly the three most limiting environmental conditions (heat, salt, ice cover) on multiple cultivars from up to fifteen individual turfgrass species. Results from this research will be used to update the current MnDOT Seeding Manual and provide MnDOT with guidance about the need for region-specific seed mixture recommendations.

Sponsors:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 06/2016
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment