Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Lora Perkins


Native Plants, Northern Great Plains, Restoration, Revegetation, Salt Tolerance, Salt-impacted Soils


In the northern Great Plains (NGP), an estimated 10.6 million hectares of land are affected by naturally occurring salt-impacted soil. Naturally occurring salt impaction results when rainfall causes salts in parent material to move upward through the soil profile and remain in the root zone causing osmotic and ionic stress, negatively affecting seed imbibition, germination, and plant growth. Common methods to remediate saltimpacted soils were developed in the irrigated soils of the Southwestern U.S., are ineffective in the non-irrigated soils of the NGP, and can exacerbate the problem. Therefore, new methods to remediate salt-impacted soil in the NGP are needed. In this study, two objectives were assessed: 1) identification of native species that exhibit salt tolerance during imbibition and germination, and 2) evaluation of the performance of native species used to revegetate a salt-impacted site. To address objective 1, the response of 16 native plant species to seed treatment (mechanical scarification) and four soil solutions (deionized water, and soil solutions with high, medium, and low salt concentrations) was evaluated. The effects of soil solution and seed treatment were species-specific for imbibition and germination, and eight species (Asclepias speciosa, Desmodium canadense, Elymus canadensis, E. trachycaulus, Gaillardia aristata, Helianthus maximiliani, Pascopyrum smithii, and Sporobolus airoides) exhibited salt tolerance. To address objective 2, eight species (identified in objective 1) were planted in a salt-impacted field and survival and performance were evaluated. Survival and performance results indicated that most species tolerated the medium and low salt concentrations, except S. airoides, which increased survival in high salt conditions. Results of our study provide native plant species recommendations for revegetating saltimpacted soil in the NGP.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Revegetation -- Great Plains.
Endemic plants -- Effect of salt on -- Great Plains.
Soil restoration.
Soils, Salts in.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright