We don't live in our native town through out the year and instead visit on some days of the year, but have some help from people who do live to water plants growing in our house there, occasionally.

The town is situated in deep South India, on the coast, has sandy soil on top, but clay below. Before it used to rain well and we used to have many ponds, but it has not really rained in 10-15 years, and the soil and well water have become very salty.

Neem grows pretty much like a weed everywhere, on its own, and coconuts and drum stick trees, where planted, also do reasonably well.

My parent's generation have pretty much given up as a result, but I'd like to rejuvenate at least our backyard to look more green. Not only is it sandy on top, but also full of pebbles and stones and very compact and hard to dig into.

I have started to mulch the soil with all the fallen leaves I can find and tear up. I would like to put some perennial natural grass cover, or something, that will keep the soil protected and moist and green looking. It should tolerate salty soil conditions and not require regular watering, if that is possible.

I do realise what I ask is a tall order, and am open to other suggestions as well. I did plant a new mulberry stem. There is already a drum stick growing well, and there is a papaya and pomegranate tree as well, but the fruit is very small. Not sure what to do to improve the yield on them.

1 Answer 1


I would suggest a mixture of grass:

  • Tall wheatgrass
  • Western wheatgrass
  • Green wheatgrass (variety AC Saltlander)
  • Slender wheatgrass

Mix them equally and you should see good results after about a year of proper maintenance. Over time (perhaps 3 years) I imagine it will in fact work to refurbish the soil as you were hoping. Combination wheat grass mixes like this are common place here in the states in areas where the soil is more alkaline and needs to be treated s/t crops can start being grown in the soil again.

  • Can wheatgrass tolerate low, infrequent and salty watering? Natively Bermuda grass grows wherever there is some regular supply of water (without maintenance) Commented May 16, 2019 at 16:47
  • I can't guarantee that. If you can keep it alive it should do well at reconditioning the soil. Your post made it seem as if the native grass's weren't doing the trick. If the native Bermuda works then use that.
    – Rob
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 16:57

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