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dead grass/saltwater submersion

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From: Laurie Smith
Marathon, FL
Our last Hurricane, Wilma, washed 3-8 feet of saltwater over the Florida Keys. My grass is brown from the slatwater wash and I have patches of green coming back. I need to plant grass where dirt is exposed. What grass should I plant and what should I do for a fertilizer since most have sodium in them? How do I get the salt out of the soil and grass root?

Extension Message
From: Douglas B. Gucker
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
DeWitt/Macon/Piatt Unit
Laurie: I am located in Illinois, however I did do some research on salt-tolerant turfgrass species for Florida. From my research, it appears that Seashore Paspalum grass would be your best choice. This grass thrives in saline areas and has excellent salt tolerance. The University of Florida web site has an excellent publication on Seashore Paspalum. It explains how to establish, maintain and care for this grass, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. The URL for this site is: Another UF publication titled "Selecting a Turfgrass for Florida Lawns", has a table that shows the different turfgrass species of Florida and their tolerance to salt. Its URL is: In addition, your local UF Extension office is located in Key West. The following was on their web site, "During the upcoming year the Monroe County Extension Service Horticulture staff will be holding a series of workshops throughout the Keys on “How to create and maintain a Florida Keys Friendly Yard”. You can call the Extension Office at 305-292-4501, visit our website: or email us at to receive more information about the Florida Yards and Neighborhood program or upcoming workshops. Contact Kim Gabel, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at your local Monroe County Extension office for more in depth information. I hope you find this information be useful and if I can be any further assistance, please contact me.

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