Kikuyu grass: a valuable salt-tolerant fodder grass.
The turf grass Pennisetum clandestinum (kikuyu grass) is one of the candidate plants for utilization and reclamation of salinized areas. The capability of kikuyu grass to grow under saline conditions was tested during 6 months, under various irrigation treatments (tap water control, 80-mM, 150-mM, 200-mM and 240-mM NaCl). Plant biomass production was visibly affected only at NaCl concentrations greater than 150-mM NaCl. Plant growth and plant regeneration capability in the 200- and 240-mM NaCl treatments gradually decreased as the experiment progressed in time. The photosynthetic potential of the plants remained unchanged and was neither affected by the treatment nor with time. Proline content of leaves as well as the content of Na+ and Cl- increased with increasing salinity stress. Apparently, kikuyu grass can withstand moderate concentrations of NaCl for prolonged periods and under repeated mowing. Thus, this grass can be used as a potential ground cover and as fodder grass in saline habitats.