‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum is now being used as a golf course turf in many different warm season locations, including the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Spain (Duncan and Carrow, 2005). ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum is a halophytic, dwarf cultivar originating at Alden Pines golf course in Bokeelia, Fla., during the 1980s (Duncan, 2001; Saltscape Solutions, 2006). It is marketed by Environmental Turf of Fort Pierce, Fla., and sold through licensed growers (Environmental Turf, 2006; Zinn, 2004a, 2004b). It is a fine-textured turfgrass used primarily for putting greens but is now being used for greens, tees, fairways, approaches, and roughs on six golf courses in Florida (Lou Conzelmann, WCI, pers. comm., Oct. 2006) as well as for residential lawns and sports fields at a variety of locations (Zinn, 2004a, 2004b).
The popularity of ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum has resulted, in part, from research citing seashore paspalum as being the most salt-tolerant turfgrass (Duncan and Carrow, 2000) along with an intensive, private-sector marketing campaign (Environmental Turf, 2006; Zinn, 2004a, 2004b). ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum is advertised to be tolerant to levels of salinity of up to 34.4 dS·m−1 or higher (Environmental Turf, 2006). It has been said that sea spray will not affect it and that sea water can be used for irrigating it (Environmental Turf, 2006). Irrigating ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum using nonpotable water such as brackish water would help to conserve potable water resources. Commensurate with the use of nonpotable irrigation, however, would be an expectation of high turf quality.
Little if any information specific to ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum and salinity-related quality exists in the scientific literature. No published record of data could be found for ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum and apparently there is no published university-oriented comparative research with currently available cultivars (Duncan, 2001). Public information on the diversity of salinity tolerance of cultivars of seashore paspalum in general is also limited (Lee et al., 2005). With this in mind, a container-oriented investigation involving established ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum was conducted at Edison College in Fort Myers, Fla., in 2002. The objectives of this research were 1) to determine if the quality of ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum was affected as a result of irrigating it with water having high levels of salinity, and 2) to provide researchers and end users with basic information regarding the effects that high levels of salinity may have on the quality of ‘SeaDwarf’ seashore paspalum.
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