Likely situations for tall wheatgrass


1.     Salinity and waterlogging
Tall wheatgrass is tolerant to moderate levels of both salinity and waterlogging.

It is common for farmers to sow a mix of tall wheatgrass and puccinellia, allowing each to find its niche in heterogeneous saline/waterlogged landscapes – tall wheatgrass will be favoured where the salinity and waterlogging are lower, while puccinellia will colonise the more waterlogged areas.

Most likely situation for tall wheatgrass

Subsoil salinity/ depth to watertable matrix





Drivers of plant zonation

  • Deeper rooted halophyte
  • Damaged by salt/waterlogging interaction in winter
  • Less waterlogging tolerant than puccinellia
  • Growth in summer assisted by groundwater accessible to roots
  • Rainfall 400–500mm


Key to symbols

red dot

This is the zone most preferred by saltbush and where it is highly recommended;

Small Dot

Saltbush is one of the possible options for this zone but it is outside its preferred conditions;

red ring

Saltbush will most likely survive in this zone, but its growth will be poor and therefore it is not recommended.

2.     Climate and soils
Tall wheatgrass is generally regarded as a pasture for higher rainfall zones, up to as much as 800 mm, but it is drought-tolerant and it can be used at rainfall levels down to about 425mm/yr.

Although a warm season grower, tall wheatgrass is not frost sensitive making it well suited to southern Victoria and South Australia where it is often too cold for saltbush.

Tall wheatgrass is tolerant of both acid and alkaline soils.

3.     Indicator species
Tall wheatgrass thrives in conditions that also favour buck’s horn plantain, sea barleygrass and spiny rush – conditions characterised by moderate levels of salinity and waterlogging. Tall wheatgrass is unlikely to be found in saltier environments or in areas that are inundated for extensive periods during the warmer months; samphire and puccinellia are the options for these more severely affected soils.

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