As of 2003, 153 million people, 53% of the United States population, lived in the nation's 673 coastal counties (Crossett et al., 2004). As development increases, landscape plants that tolerate coastal conditions become critically important to the ornamental landscape industry.
Researchers have documented injury from airborne salts to plants growing near the coast (Edwards and Holmes, 1968; Karschon, 1964; Malloch, 1972). Exposure to water with high salt content reduces or inhibits plant growth (Belligno et al., 2002a, b; Marcum, 2001; Qian et al., 2001). Much of the research done in salinity tolerance concerns saline soil or saline irrigation (Alshammary et al., 2004; Belligno et al., 2002a, b; Gulzar et al., 2003; Hunter and Wu, 2005; Marcum, 1999; Marcum et al., 2005), but little research focuses on plant exposure to salt spray under nonsaline irrigation conditions. It is well documented that plants are often more sensitive to saline spray than to salt applied at the root zone (Benes et al., 1996; Bernstein and Francois, 1975; Grattan et al., 1981, 1994; Westcot and Ayers, 1984). In addition, much of the research done assesses survival rates of plants under saline conditions, but few studies consider the aesthetic value of the plants after foliage is exposed to water with high salt concentrations (Marcum et al., 2005). For landscape plantings to be successful, they must not only survive, but meet high aesthetic standards.
Many publications list suitable salt-tolerant ornamental landscape plants, but little quantified information exists for the salt tolerance of individual ornamental grass species. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effect of four concentration rates of salt spray on appearance, inflorescence number, growth, and mortality of two ornamental grass species.
Alshammary, S.F., Qian, Y.L. & Wallner, S.J. 2004 Growth response of four turfgrass species to salinity Agr. Water Mgt. 66 97 111
Belligno, A., Cutore, L., Di Leo, M., Sardo, V. & Brancato, R. 2002a Response of two grasses to irrigation with diluted seawater Acta Hort. 573 353 356
Belligno, A., La Loggia, F., Sambuco, F., Sardo, V. & Brancato, R. 2002b Salinity tolerance in elytrigia (Agropyron elongatum) Acta Hort. 573 349 351
Benes, S.E., Aragues, R., Grattan, S.R. & Austin, R.B. 1996 Foliar and root absorption of Na and Cl in maize and barley: Implications for salt tolerance and screening and the use of saline sprinkler irrigation Plant Soil 180 75 86
Bernstein, L. & Francois, L.E. 1975 Effects of frequency of sprinkling with saline waters compared with daily drip irrigation Agron. J. 67 185 190
Crossett, K.M., Culliton, T.J., Wiley, P.C. & Goodspeed, T.R. 2004 Population trends along the coastal United States: 1980–2008 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Washington, DC
Edwards, R.S. & Holmes, G.D. 1968 Studies of airborne salt deposition in some north Wales forests Forestry 41 155 174
Grattan, S.R., Mass, E.V. & Ogata, G. 1981 Foliar uptake and injury from saline aerosol J. Environ. Qual. 10 406 409
Grattan, S., Royo, A. & Aragues, R. 1994 Chloride accumulation and partitioning in barley as affected by differential root and foliar salt absorption under saline sprinkler irrigation Irr. Sci. 14 147 155
Gulzar, S., Khan, M.A. & Ungar, I.A. 2003 Effects of salinity on growth, ionic content, and plant–water status of Aeluropus lagopoides Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 34 1657 1668
Hunter, K.A. & Wu, L. 2005 Morphological and physiological response of five California native grass species to moderate salt spray: Implications for landscape irrigation with reclaimed water J. Plant Nutr. 28 247 270
Marcum, K.B. 1999 Salinity tolerance mechanisms of grasses in the subfamily Chloridoideae Crop Sci. 39 1153 1160
Marcum, K.B. & Murdoch, C.L. 1994 Salinity tolerance mechanisms of six C4 turfgrasses J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 119 779 784
Marcum, K.B., Pessarakli, M. & Kopec, D. 2005 Relative salinity tolerance of 21 turf-type desert saltgrasses compared to bermudagrass HortScience 40 827 829
Munns, R. & Rawson, H. 1999 Effect of salinity on salt accumulation and reproductive development in the apical meristems of wheat and barley Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 26 459 464
Qian, Y.L., Wilhelm, S.J. & Marcum, K.B. 2001 Comparative response of two kentucky bluegrass cultivars to salinity stress Crop Sci. 41 1895 1900
Westcot, D.W. & Ayers, R.S. 1984 Irrigation water quality criteria 3 37 Pettygrove G.S. & Asano T. Irrigation with reclaimed municipal wastewater: A guidance manual California State Water Control Board Sacramento, CA