Likely situations for vegetatively established grasses


1.     Salinity and waterlogging
These grasses are all highly tolerant of waterlogging and can tolerate high salinity levels, but perform best at moderate salinities (4-8 dS/m).

Field observations in NSW have shown that both marine couch and saltwater couch can survive with exceptionally high surface (0-10 cm) soil salinities (40-100 dS/m), while distcichlis reaches its optimal productivity, under high light and temperature, when soil salinity levels are between 20 and 30 dS/m.

Likely situations for vegetatively established grasses

Subsoil salinity/ depth to watertable matrix





Drivers of plant zonation

  • Halophytes and so do best with some salinity;
  • Spread vegetatively to fill gaps
  • Can tolerates high levels of waterlogging
  • Medium tolerance to salinity
  • Warm season growers
  • Rainfall >450 mm


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;

2.     Climate and soils
These grasses (especially marine and saltwater couch) are very widespread throughout Australia and while they are sub-tropical species they are very adaptable. The most suitable areas will be warmer zones, with relatively high rainfall (>500mm) that is either summer dominant or where conditions remain moist over summer. It is not surprising that marine couch has been the most widely used saltland pasture species in Queensland.

While these grass species all have high levels of tolerance for salinity and waterlogging, there is little information about the field conditions (soil type, salinity down the profile, depth to watertable etc) to which they are best suited – anecdotally it seems that the plants grow well over a range of soil types but establish better and spread faster in sandy soils.

3.     Indicator species
The most common indicator species would be sea barleygrass, cotula, curly rye grass and perhaps samphire in the most waterlogged and saline situations.

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